Bob Owens whos is one of my favorite writers and regularly can be found on Bearing Arms has written a very important article for those of us who read reviews, post on forums or generally think for ourselves. While I have not see the actual federal filing to see the scope of the complaint the gist is that TacticalRifles.net does not believe review sitess or users should voice any comments that may be negative about thier product.
Honest reviews is what this site is about. We have actually turned down the opportunity to review products we felt did not fit with out quality standards. We have made negative comments about products we have reviewed in the past and that is part of what is required when looking at a product.
I am not sure how TacticalRifles.net can claim slander against a forum for discussing the product. The good news is that according to the post on Sniper’s Hide they have already reached the initial request for funds to fight this case.
Read the entire article below and Check out Bearing Arms for some great updates.
Slander, libel, and assault, or an accurate critique? TacticalRifles.Net gets famous for all the wrong reasons.
If you’re interested in long-range precision shooting and have an Internet connection, you’ve probably stumbled across some part of Sniper’s Hide. The online community boasts knowledgeable blog posts, quality forums, training, and an online store, and has a positive reputation built up over 14 years.
I’d personally never heard of gun-builder TacticalRifles.Net until they decided to sue Sniper’s Hide, its owner Frank “Lowlight” Galli, and Mark Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles for forum posts and videos criticizing the quality of a TacticalRifles.Net rifle.
Here’s a example of one Sniper’s Hide forum post criticizing the quality of a rifle build, in what seemed to me to be very measured tones, and here’s an example video from YouTube, likewise criticizing the quality of a TacticalRifles.net build. Other forums have also posted negative reviews about their experiences with the company, but the bulk of the criticism of TacticalRifles.Net product quality seems to circle its way back to Sniper’s Hide.
It appears that TacticalRifles.Net thought that filing suit against Sniper’s Hide would perhaps force Sniper’s Hide to subdue or remove posts critical of TacticalRifles.Net’s products in a settlement.
Instead of folding, Sniper’s Hide is raising money to fight the suit, claiming:
We are going to fight the lawsuit filed by TacticalRifles.net out in Federal Court of Florida.
This Federal case was filed against Me, Sniper’s Hide & Marc Soulie, at present I have spoken to several lawyers on the matter and feel rather than try to settle it, we are gonna fight it and protect our ability to post the truth in any matter. We feel fighting this and winning will send a message to companies that were are here for a reason and do in fact provide a service to the members, not only what we can say, but how and where our money will be spent.
This fight is about you the end user, and the ability to talk about problems with a company’s product or service. Without defending this suit, a win tells all of you, if you voice a negative opinion or review of a product or service, you can and will be sued for Libel / Slander / Assault. They feel the negative reviews are an assault on their company and not a problem to be addressed and fixed.
Help us defend our freedoms by supporting the site in this effort. Our initial retainer will be $7500… that is just the first step. Marc will more than likely have to defend his efforts to correct the problems found with his clients rifle. I encourage you to support Marc Soulie as well.
From a public relations perspective, TacticalRifles.Net better have an airtight case here.
They’re suing a respected forum and have become much more famous (or infamous) as a direct result of the suit. Specific criticisms of their product quality is much better known, and if they fail to prove that the criticism on Sniper’s Hide constitutes libel, slander and assault, the suit could explode spectacularly in their faces in terms of damage to their reputation.
To quote the T-Rex henchman from 2007′s Meet the Robinsons, “I’m just not sure how well this plan was thought through.”