Shiva Ayyadurai, Who Claims to Have Invented Email, Is Suing Another News Site - 2017-01-05
Shiva Ayyadurai, the man who claims to have invented email — and who sued now-defunct gossip blog Gawker for saying he didn't — announced this morning that he's filed a new lawsuit yesterday against the website Techdirt. Ayyadurai is seeking $15 million in damages — and is represented by Charles Harder, the lawyer who represented him and Hulk Hogan in their suits against Gawker.
Ayyadurai's beef with Techdirt concerns their publication of what he describes as "fake news and 14 defamatory articles." Posts on the site include crystal-clear headlines such as "Guy Who Didn't Invent Email Sues Gawker For Pointing Out He Didn't Invent Email" and "Actual Creators Of Email Not At All Happy The Fake Creator Of Email Got Paid For His Bogus Claim," and "Here's The Truth: Shiva Ayyadurai Didn't Invent Email." As noted, he's seeking $15 million in damages.
Techdirt would seem to have a pretty good case here. By and large, the only person who really believes that Ayyadurai "invented email" is Ayyadurai himself — a belief that Ayyadurai (who was once married to Nanny star Fran Drescher) has not been shy about sharing with the world. Technology historians near-unanimously credit Ray Tomlinson with developing the innovation while working for defense contractor Raytheon; when the Washington Post wrote in a headline that Ayyadurai had invented email, its ombudsman apologized and said he should not have been described as such. (Ayyadurai does appear to have invented an electronic-mesaging system that he named "EMAIL," but that code was copyrighted in 1982, more than a decade after the first email was sent over the internet precursor ARPANET.)