A few days ago I wrote a post Three Laser Classes? about a contentious issue facing the Laser Class. There's a dispute going on between a company who owns the design rights to the Laser and another company who builds Lasers. The International Laser Class is caught in the middle of the dispute and is doing its best to chart a way forward for the class. There are all sorts of players potentially involved in the issue: the original designer, the company he set up to manage his design rights, the company he sold that first company to, the builders in various parts of the world, the trademark owners etc. etc. I'm sure there are several firms of lawyers involved too.
(If you really want to understand more, then check out this thread on the Laser Forum and this interview with Bruce Kirby on Sail World.)
I said at the end of my post, "This could get messy."
I didn't know how right I was.
Today comes news that someone has been threatened with a lawsuit. But it's not one of the players mentioned above. It's just some random dude who expressed an opinion on the Laser Forum that was somewhat critical of two of those major players. He reports today that he has been threatened with a libel lawsuit by the lawyer for those two players, and he's desperately trying to work out how he can edit his original post.
So the message is, "Be careful out there kiddies." This is serious business. And if you express an opinion on one of the various forums debating this topic that is unfairly critical of certain people, you might be hearing from their lawyers.