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Guy Who Didn't Invent Email Sues Gawker For Pointing Out He Didn't Invent Email ( 91

Mike Masnick, reporting for TechDirt: Oh boy. Remember Shiva Ayyadurai? The guy who has gone to great lengths to claim that he "invented email," when the reality is that he appears to have (likely independently) written an early implementation of email long after others had actually "invented email." In the past we've called out examples where gullible press have fallen for his easily debunked claims, but he keeps popping back up. The mainstream press repeated his bogus claims about inventing email after he married a TV star. And, most recently, he decided to scream at the press for memorializing Ray Tomlinson -- someone who actually did have a hand in creating email -- upon his death. [...] We, of course, have not been alone in debunking his claims. Back in 2012, a few weeks after we first debunked them, Gawker's Sam Biddle did a long and thorough takedown of Ayyadurai's claims. Apparently that story really angers Ayyadurai, and I'm guessing that seeing Hulk Hogan win his crazy lawsuit against Gawker helped Ayyadurai to decide to sue Gawker as well.
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Guy Who Didn't Invent Email Sues Gawker For Pointing Out He Didn't Invent Email

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    that I'll sue anyone who prints that I didn't date Jennifer Anniston.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @04:43PM (#52093803)

    The celebrity wife in question is Fran Drescher.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wait, why was Hulk's lawsuit crazy?

  • Conflicted (Score:5, Funny)

    by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @04:54PM (#52093881)
    On the one hand, this lawsuit is, well, bonkers. On the other, he's suing Gawker so.... go crazy email not inventing guy?
    • I know the feel. Really, I think we've all been damaged by Gawker and have a valid claim. Someone should class action them into oblivion. For once I don't care that a lawyer is taking all the money while "risking" only a bit of his free time and I get maybe a $5 check. Just shut them down.
  • Guy who can't do jack shit tries to stay in the limelight by insane claims and publicity stunts.

    Wait, is that one of the Kadashians?

  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @05:00PM (#52093935) Journal
    Let's not spend any of those precious seconds ticking away talking about this... it's a collective waste of our time.

    Do NOT feed the troll, remember?
  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @05:12PM (#52094025)

    Tort Reform. Why is it that none of the presidential candidates are talking about this and neither is the media?

    • It's possible tort reform could become an agenda item on a Trump platform. He's not a fucking lawyer like most politicians.

    • It would need to be done at multiple levels. Reform at the federal level is fine, but each of the states has their own laws as well. At least that is my understanding.

    • Just because someone announces they are going to sue, doesn't mean it is going to go somewhere. Civil lawsuits are pretty much the only way for private citizens to go against large companies and have a remote chance of hurting the company. "Tort reform is the large companies trying to making fighting them impossible or not worth the effort. Meditation in the terms and condition of every product and service imaginable along with using lobbyists and P.R. to get news like this in the press in order to make "to

      • Totally missing the big picture. The mere threat of a lawsuit requires that you have rather expensive liability insurance and a legal team on retainer. Big bucks. In addition, the standard practice is to settle out of court without any proof of guilt to make it go away because of the specter of bad publicity. All of that costs a lot of money and has to be built into the cost of doing business.

        • Well, actually, just about anyone can file papers. You're right that to have a hope of hell of winning, you generally need a pretty good lawyer, but there's no particular expertise required to filing the paperwork.

    • Because "tort reform" is the smokescreen corporations put on their efforts to limit their class-action liability via legislation and incomplete stories of outrageous sums awarded to an old lady for spilling coffee on her lap, or a burglar for falling through the skylight of the home he was breaking into, or an attempted suicide failing to be killed by a train he intentionally jumped in front of. Almost every time you read one of those stories, there's salient information not being included.

  • He holds four degrees from MIT (where he lectures), numerous patents, honors, and awards. He also says he invented email, and there's a global conspiracy against him. Guess which one of these statements is true.

    Uh... okay. So it's the last one, I guess. But what are these other claims about? Has he claimed those to be true as well? Or only the last one?

    Or was the writer just trying to jazz up his piece?

    • It's not as if very intelligent people can't also be paranoid, delusional, or insane.

      • His whole argument seems to come down to the fact that he invented an email system with the name "email" as opposed to "electronic mail" or "e-mail". He believes his copyrighting of the term "Email" gives his claims some sort of increased merit. There's something of the etymological fallacy to this, since the difference between "e-mail" and "email" is pretty small. I'm not even sure the copyright it even defensible, but that's a side issue.

        I have two theories about this guy. One is that he's just a fraud, a

        • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

          Maybe he's trying to garner enough interest in himself that the "threats" from previous employers in India won't be carried out. If the media pays enough attention to him, those wily assassins won't be able to get near.

          Maybe he's just delusional.

          I wrote a program to monitor and stop analysts and other programmers from compiling their code at inappropriate run-time priorities - that doesn't mean I get credit as the inventor of process queueing and scheduling.

    • by krkhan ( 1071096 )

      After the controversy unfolded, MIT disassociated itself from Ayyadurai's EMAIL Lab and funding was dropped. MIT also revoked Ayyadurai's contract to lecture at the bioengineering department. [1]

      [1] []

    • by fsagx ( 1936954 )

      He's also made other outrageous claims, like he invented the question mark.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It was Al Gore, and Manbearpig stole the server and ran off innawoods.

  • He was 14 when he "invented email".

    Let's just ignore ARPANET, which had been floating about for a while.

    • Ayyadurai's whole claim really rests on the fact that he copyrighted the term "Email". Therefore, in the twisted logic of he and his supporters (who very likely are all just sockpuppets of Ayyadurai), that means he "invented" "Email". It's really just equivocation, and probably a bit of an etymological fallacy.

      But his attacks on Tomlinson, who in fact, never even claimed to invent electronic mail, but rather came up with the "@" symbol as a means of routing mail between ARPANET servers, demonstrates that ev

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        I'm gonna kick myself for admitting this but I think I know him and I'm 99.9% sure that's what we used (I'm MIT Alumni) for inter-departmental communiques. (Yes, verbiage intentional.)

        Now, this was a lot of years ago and my head's a bit fuzzy from years of varied substance abuses but man, if he's who I think he is, he's supposedly an idiot and an arrogant twat. (Not firsthand knowledge - repeated after some lectures others went to.) I won't swear that it's him but if you really want I can try to contact som

    • by hattig ( 47930 )

      He wrote a program called EMAIL, starting in 1979. It didn't do the key essential parts of what we consider email.

      Sadly, the key email RFCs came out in 1972 and 1977, and the concept was in progress in 1965. The ones crediting Tomlinson, etc.

      If this gets to court (unlikely), then he will get destroyed (and not before time, it appears). Even the race card he plays is a total lie, as the RFCs include an Indian co-author.


  • Which was a great improvement over the old bang paths; at least you could be reasonably assured your message would reach the intended recipient. It also established a uniform way to address someone without having to decipher a path to the recipient.
  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @09:38PM (#52095371)

    Here is a brief bio of the Shiva Ayyadurai, if you are not familiar with him. His sons, of course, are much more famous.

    Ayyadurai started his career as a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. In 1978, he married a fifteen-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. Ayyadurai enjoys womanizing and drinking. In addition to email, he also invented the question mark. Ayyadurai has two sons, Austin and Douglas.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hulk Hogan completely deserved to win his case though so there really is no comparison. This guy is making baseless accusations about E-Mail but regardless of what you think about the Hulk Gawker clearly broke the law in the Hulks case.

  • I didn't invent written correspondence where's my article. I'll deny it all day.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai