It's timely to remind people that the action of Vern Raburn two weeks ago has raised awareness of the blog by a factor of at least 10. A number of sites, including his owners club, have picked up on us, and everyone will all note the new voices, as well as the higher volume of posts. Karen Di Piazza has been observing Eclipse for some years now, and was quick to contact the blog and others for further information. For the record, my only real quibble is her description of me as the 'owner', as I regard myself strictly as the custodian. Herewith her article in full, which was published by www.charterx.com. I think I should extend, on behalf of the bolg, a heartfelt thanks to Karen for her interest in our struggle.
Eclipse Aviation Critic Blogger Fights Eclipse Aviation Subpoena
By Karen Di Piazza
After Shane Price, owner of Eclipse Aviation Critic NG blog was notified by Google's legal department it had been subpoenaed by Eclipse Aviation for production of the blog's business records, to expose the identities of 29 people, he said he was shocked. Price, of Dublin, Ireland, who works in the publishing business isn't listed on the subpoena. New Mexico-based Eclipse, manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 very light jet, claims that bloggers have harmed its business. About six months ago the blog went dead; its founder decided to stop hosting the site. Before Price revived the site, posters had temporally joined forces with another site.
When asked why he decided to host the site, Price replied to CharterX Industry Headline News, "I found the site by accident." "Although I'm not in aviation, and I'm busy with my own business affairs, I smelled a rat--Vern Raburn [Eclipse CEO]. After I saw how he [Raburn] treated his employees, suppliers and customers, I realized that these bloggers needed their home back."
After Price posted the news about Eclipse's subpoena, 174 posts were immediately made. Rich Lucibella, who's in the publishing business, and also a frequent blogger [not targeted on Eclipse's list], responded to the news. He told CharterX Industry Headline News that he found Eclipse's actions "outrageous."
"What Eclipse is attempting to do is just wrong," Lucibella said. "They want to take advantage of people's rights; I can't stand by and let them do that."
A proponent of the First Amendment, Lucibella hired Florida-based attorney Norman Malinski, who will file a motion to prevent Google from releasing bloggers' private information.
Raburn was contacted several times for this article, but he refused to answer questions. Via email, he was asked to confirm or deny if he wrote a letter to all personnel about firing someone for breaking the company's non-disclosure agreement, and then using that person as an example of what would happen to the next person who did so. Raburn was also asked to provide an update on the status of when the jet's avionics would become fully functionally and when he expected ice certification on the plane. Eclipse's production schedule of its aircraft has suffered delay after delay; suppliers have been blamed for most of the company's production woes. Many aviation analysts and industry observers have expressed great concern about whether Eclipse can become a viable, profitable company. Florida-based DayJet Services LLC, Eclipse's largest commercial air taxi customer with 1,400 orders, operates 28 Eclipse 500s; the company hasn't added 500s to its carrier certificate since Jan. 15.
Malinski agreed that if any blogger is employed or was employed by Eclipse, they might have violated a NDA. "But it's a question of how Eclipse is going about it," he said. "The question is have they walked the last mile in trying to obtain such information, if any of its employees or former employees have breeched a NDA on the blog? Is this the easy way of going about it for Eclipse? Yes.
"Eclipse doesn't have the right to access other people's private information. For example, if three bloggers are or were employed by Eclipse but others aren't, then the rest of the people's privacy rights are violated under the First Amendment. Eclipse hasn't appeared to invoke the rule of reason."
"Ringtail," one of 29 blogger names that Eclipse listed on its subpoena, brings Malinski's point home--an unfounded fishing expedition.
"I was shocked to see my blog name on the list," David Johnson told CharterX Industry Headline News. "I've never had any relationship with Eclipse."
Johnson's wife, Becky, posted a letter to Raburn on the blog, believing he must be checking the site. In part it reads: "Everything we posted on this blog was based on our own opinion gleaned from reading and participating on this blog, and other aviation magazines and news articles. People have the right to say what they want. I believe you've initiated an opposition on that right."
Malinski said after Google receives a motion to seek that material isn't released that Eclipse has demanded, Google will wait to see what the judge's decision is.
"If we don't like the judge's decision, we'll appeal; Google will wait until the appeal process is over, assuming Google is allowed to wait," he said. "In May, the judge will have to make a decision. If this ends up in a court of appeals it could take a year from now. Or there's a possibility we can reach an agreement with Eclipse's counsel. I'm not talking about an agreement that involves money. I'm confident that there's not enough information on Eclipse's part to warrant the subpoena."
Eclipse counsel declined to comment.
Lucibella, who's footing Malinski's bill to represent bloggers' privacy rights, said in June 2006, he had ordered an Eclipse VLJ. But after Eclipse "wouldn't provide him with a serial number on production," he asked for his deposit back. He said he wasn't impressed with how Eclipse handled its business transaction. Shortly thereafter, he joined the blog.
The plane maker's claim that it needs personal information on all 29 bloggers, as inside company information has been leaked, has angered many people. Some people now view Eclipse as a bully, trying to blame 29 bloggers for the company's failures. Because of Eclipse's actions, many people have said they would not purchase its plane.
Eclipse's subpoena served on Google demands the first and last names of all 29 bloggers, their zip code, email address given when they registered their account and all records pertaining to user login information. Eclipse wants all remote IP addresses with corresponding dates and times logged by Google's system, on each occurrence of the account being accessed.