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follow anonymous 2017 Jun 13, 4:01pm
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History is not fixed; like memory itself, it is an act of reconstruction.
Shiva Ayyadurai understands this. Ayyadurai has spent nearly six years publicly proclaiming himself the â€œinventor of e-mail.â€ But this claim about e-mailâ€”as everyone but Ayyaduraiâ€™s supporters understand the term â€œe-mailâ€â€”isnâ€™t true.
Ayyadurai did write a program called â€œEMAILâ€ for use by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now a part of Rutgers). He copyrighted the code in 1982. But Ayyadurai today makes the far more significant claim that he invented â€œthe electronic mail system as we know it today,â€ even though his code had little impact beyond the university. Mainstream tech history books donâ€™t even mention Ayyaduraiâ€”unless you count the several books Ayyadurai has written about himself.
On the ARPAnet, the predecessor to the Internet, electronic mail conventions were well-established by the mid-1970s. Dave Crocker, one of a group of ARPAnet pioneers despised by Ayyadurai, told Ars that he wasnâ€™t just using e-mail by 1974â€”he was positively addicted to it, a full three decades before the smartphone.
Yet Ayyadurai is closer than ever to creating a world in which his version of history rules. In 2016, Ayyadurai sued Gawker, which had published a biting and widely read article critical of his claims. Several months later, with Gawker in bankruptcy proceedings after losing a defamation lawsuit brought by former pro wrestler Terry â€œHulk Hoganâ€ Bollea, the site agreed to pay Ayyadurai $750,000. Two articles about Ayyadurai were deleted.
Ayyadurai then moved on to a new target. In January 2017, he sued technology blog Techdirt and its founder, Mike Masnick. With the Gawker articles gone, Masnick was Ayyaduraiâ€™s most prominent remaining critic, having published more than a dozen detailed articles attacking his claims. According to the complaint, some of the sharp-toned Techdirt articles dubbed Ayyadurai a â€œfraud,â€ â€œliar,â€ and â€œcharlatan.â€
Now, Ayyadurai and Masnick are locked in an extraordinary conflict over the history of e-mail. Each believes he is fighting for real principles, like history and the nature of truth itself. Neither is likely to back down.
(These are the main titles for each of the subsequent parts of this article)
The history of Ayyadurai
Correcting the record
â€œWhat does Vint Cerf know?â€
E-mail, at universities
E-mail, at work
Ten magic words
â€œTomlinson dies a liarâ€
The Gawker lawsuit
Techdirt and the cost of speech
Note: Five Page Article, Easy Reading. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/06/shivas-war-one-mans-quest-to-convince-the-world-that-he-invented-e-mail/5/
Related: Techdirtâ€™s Mike Masnick says lawsuit has already had a chilling effect on his site. https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/08/mike-masnick-personal-democracy-forum/
#EMail #SciTech #Lawsuits #Gawker #Techdirt