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Declaration of James Robinson regarding the fair use issue.
Case: Los Angeles Times  v. Free Republic.
Court: U.S. District Court, C.D.Cal., Case No. 98-7840 MMM(AJWx).
Date filed: October __, 1999.

Editor's Notes:
 • The following was posted in the Free Republic web site on October 29 under the pseudonym "Clarity." Clarity is known by Tech Law Journal to be the name used by Brian Buckley, attorney for Defendants in this case.
 • Tech Law Journal has not viewed the original document filed with the court.
 • Reprinted with the kind permission of James Robinson of Free Republic.

I, James Robinson, declare:

1. I was born in Fresno, California, November 3, 1945. I was raised and attended school through the 10th or 11th grade in Fresno. I worked various odd jobs after leaving school until enlisting in the United States Navy ("Navy") in July, 1965.

Experience In the United States Navy

2. While in the Navy, I served on destroyers for four years as an Interior Communications Electrician (responsible for maintenance of telephone circuits, public address systems, alarm circuits, navigational compass, engine order telegraph, and related communications repeaters and equipment, etc.).

3. I served several tours on shore bombardment duty off the coast of Vietnam aboard two of my destroyers. I earned a Navy Unit commendation while aboard one destroyer for firing a record number of shells during one tour. I achieved the rank of Third Class Petty Officer during my enlistment. At the time of my discharge, I was eligible for promotion to Second Class Petty Officer, but I would have been required to extend my enlistment and decided not to do so.

4. While in the Navy, I received my high school GED, and graduated from Basic Electronics School and Interior Communications School and several other specialized training courses.

5. In 1969, at the end of my enlistment term, I received an honorable discharge from the Navy.

6. After receiving my honorable discharge from the Navy in 1969, I worked as an aircraft sheet metal mechanic for a local Fresno company for aproximately a year.

7. In 1970, I married my wife, Sheila Robinson, who later gave birth to our two sons, John, born in 1972 and Christopher, born in 1974.

8. I worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman for aproximately a year, and then attended a computer programming school, Electronic Computer Programming Institute of Fresno (E.C.P.I.) where I graduated top in my class in 1972.

9. I took my first computer-related job immediately after graduation from E.C.P.I.. I accepted a position with Producer's Dairy Delivery Service in Fresno where I worked as a computer operator/programmer.

10. In 1974, Producer's Dairy Delivery Service contracted with Custom Computer Services of Fresno to take over their computer processing function. I was transferred, along with the equipment, to Custom Computer Services.

11. I worked as a programmer, then programmer/analyst for Custom Computer for several years and eventually moved into middle management. While at Custom Computer I developed a 4th generation programming language and a series of accounting packages for farming and agri-business clients.

12. In approximately 1976 or 1977, I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Despite this diagnosis, I remained employed at Custom Computer.

13. In 1979, I left Custom Computer, for approximately two years for a "stint" as Data Processing manager for one of my farming clients, Kaprielian Brothers Packing Company.

14. In 1981, I returned to Custom Computer as Programming Department Manager.

15. During this second period of employment at Custom Computer, I attended Fresno City College at night for several years and completed virtually all of their business and accounting classes.

16. In 1988, the owner of Custom Computer offered me an opportunity to open my own business by purchasing the software which I had developed at Custom Computer and "taking over" my existing farm clientele as my own clients. Delighted with the opportunity, I happily accepted the offer and, in partnership with two programmers from my department, opened a business which we called Software Solutions Company ("SSC").

17. SSC grew and prospered for several years until, by 1994 it had achieved a gross annual revenue of approximately $2,000,000 (two million dollars).

18. Needing additional capital to expand, my partners and I took the company public in 1995 -- on the NASDAQ OTC market as ProtoSource Corporation (NASDAQ:PSCO).

19. Our expansion plans for ProtoSource Corporation included converting all of our software from the Digital Equipment Corporation VAX minicomputer line to the Microsoft Windows environment. This became a much more difficult and expensive task than we had anticipated and we ended up nearly bankrupting our new corporation by failing to meet our conversion schedule. As a result, we lost market share to our competitors. The value of our stock plunged from above five dollars per share to a low of less than twenty-five cents per share.

20. During the above-mentioned period during which ProtoSource lost market share, I was searching desperately for new products to sell, as we were experiencing severe product development problems. As a result, in 1995 we located and acquired a small startup Internet Services Provider (ISP) called ValleyNet Communications, located in Fresno, California.

21. In the spring of 1996, as part of a new capitalization plan, a group of investors purchased this ISP business from ProtoSource Corporation and named it ProtoSource Network (PSNW). The software development unit of ProtoSource was "spun off" and went to the former management team. I stayed on as a consultant to the remaining ISP business, responsible for maintaining their billing and accounting systems.

22. At approximately this same time, my muscular dystrophy, which had been progressing slowly, began advancing rapidly and I eventually got so weak that I could no longer fully perform my duties.

23. Also during this period during which we were taking ProtoSource "public," my wife, Sheila, suffered a debilitating stroke, which left her left side completely paralyzed. This resulted in a loss of her business and her income.

24. In April of 1996, the Board of Directors of ProtoSource asked me to step aside as Chairman and CEO and turn over my responsibilities to our President, Charles Howard, one of my original partners. The Company awarded me a one-year consulting contract and a promise to bring me back as a Vice President after a successful reorganization.

25. In March of 1997, the new investor group at ProtoSource informed me that my contract, which was scheduled to terminate in April, would not be extended. This led me to start Electronic Orchard, a partnership with my son, John Robinson ("John"), and my former co-worker, Amy DeFendis ("Amy"), with the hope of doing Internet computer consulting.

26. Amy was also terminated from ProtoSource at the same time I was. Amy had been my bookkeeper and controller for several years at ProtoSource and was a long-time friend and co-worker from the early days of Custom Computer. Amy was approaching retirement age and did not want to work at another full-time job, but was willing to help me start up my new business. At this time, I had by now weakened to the point where I could no longer walk and travel was extremely difficult and burdensome. Amy volunteered to "be my legs" until I could get the new business going. Amy handled most of the paperwork, banking and bookkeeping, and, generally, all of the legwork.

27. My son, John, had been a programmer and systems manager for ProtoSource and he came into Electronic Orchard with Amy and me. John does all of the "heavy duty" Unix programming which is beyond my knowledge of Unix.

28. Electronic Orchard was intended to provide programming services and Internet web site development and hosting services. We did approximately $15,000 in total revenue in 1997; approximately $6,000 or $7,000 gross revenue in 1998; and perhaps $2,000 to date in 1999.

29. The bulk of the revenue came from one of my old farming customers for which we (my son, John, and I) programmed a timekeeping system for their fruit packinghouse operation. We also developed web sites for a handful of small personal businesses.

Interest in Politics

30. I began getting interested in politics around the time that Bill Clinton ("Clinton") was running for President in 1991. I read all of the stories about his reputed Arkansas "scandals" and I was a member of the Prodigy online bulletin board system where politics was a major topic.

31. After Clinton was elected, I participated in a rather active bulletin board on the Prodigy service which was called the "Prodigy Whitewater News" board. The Prodigy News Bulletin Boards was a service provided by the Prodigy Online Computer Service Company (co-owned by IBM and Sears corporations) where "paid-up" Prodigy members could post and discuss copies of newspaper articles. For several years, I was a regular reader and poster to this "board." I was impressed with the free and open discussion and this is where I got the original idea for a news and politics "posting and discussion" bulletin-board site on the Internet.

32. In 1996, some of the Prodigy Whitewater bulletin-board ("WW board") participants began discussing what we believed to be President Clinton's illegal dealings in connection with the "Lippo Group." There was considerable controversy in the opinions expressed concerning this subject.

33. Sometime during the Summer and Fall of 1996 I became frustrated with Prodigy and Prodigy's frequent threats to censor users of the Whitewater bulletin-board. In addition, I was also beginning to realize that the internet was a much larger audience than Prodigy, which was a "subscription" service which was accessed directly by modem rather than being accessed by Internet.

34. I had also been spending time on the alt.clinton.crime.corruption.whitewater (or something like that) USENET newsgroup. (Usenet groups also allow full-text posting of articles.) One of the problems I found with USENET groups is that they have no moderators and are subject to disruption by vandals. This is an additional reason I wanted to create my own "bulletin board" forum web site.

35. Dissatisfied with the operation of the Prodigy bulletin board, and similar sites, I decided to start my own "bulletin-board" Internet-type site to encourage the free expression of ideas -- particularly in connection with President Clinton's then past and present activities. I wanted to be able to reach a wider audience than did the Prodigy bulletin board and encourage more free discussion. Thus, in September of 1996, while still a consultant for ProtoSource, I started Free Republic.

36. I began looking for suitable "forum" software. I located a couple packages and tried them out, but was not happy with the formats. I decided to write my own.

37. It took me a couple of months to write and test the software. I developed and tested version one on ProtoSources' computer. I developed and tested later revisions on our Electronic Orchard computer before installing on or other sites open to the public.

38. I "cross-posted" (showing a link to articles to Prodigy, several USENET groups, and a couple other forums on the internet -- the names of which I no longer remember. On all articles I posted, I included the URL of the new forum and within a few months people began visiting the Free Republic site.

39. Originally, I put up all the web pages on Free Republic myself at night and on weekends. Most of the material consisted of various reports and copies of newspaper articles that had been posted earlier to the Prodigy Whitewater bulletin board or to other discussion boards on the Internet on which I had participated.

40. Initially, Free Republic's "traffic" was small enough that I was able to operate Free Republic on my own personal ISP account on the ProtoSource Network. However, Free Republic eventually outgrew that.

41. In February of 1998 Free Republic had grown to the point that we needed our own "server" computer so I decided to lease a server in the name of Electronic Orchard and rent space to Free Republic on it.

42. We operated Electronic Orchard as a business, but Free Republic was just an "avocation" and I was paying all expenses out of my personal pocket. I could afford little much in the way of computer services.

43. Recognizing that I was having difficulty meeting Free Republic's expenses, and because I could no longer work, Free Republic users began sending donations to keep Free Republic in operation.

44. Free Republic continued to grow and by the fall of 1998 Free Republic outgrew its computer server again. We were desperately looking for donors to assist in facilitating the transistion to a larger server when I received an email message from James Golden of TalkSpot.

45. James Golden, of WorldStream Communications, had started TalkSpot, an audio web-casting service (similar to a radio talk show, only on the Internet instead of through the airwaves). Mr. Golden was conservatively-oriented and a big fan of Free Republic.

46. Mr. Golden very much appreciated the forum software I had designed for Free Republic and my knowledge of "bulletin board" forum-type systems.

47. TalkSpot wanted to expand their conservative talk show network and spread their message to as many Internet readers as possible.

48. TalkSpot also provided me with a personal consulting contract, which provided me with an income in return for me helping them build up their talk shows and their web site.

49. In addition, WorldStream agreed to "host" the Free Republic web server traffic.

50. As part of my consulting contract, I created a segment called "Radio Free Republic" We signed up two shows, the Alan Keyes Show and the Gary Aldrich Show and I provided links to these and the TalkSpot network on Free Republic.

51. We had hoped to start other new shows also -- such as the Ann Coulter Show and a show hosted by Lucianne Goldberg. Unfortunately, these never got off the ground. Simultaneous with our attempts to produce original web "talk" shows, many of the big radio talk shows expanded to the Internet. Web-only broadcasts couldn't compete, and so TalkSpot, though a valiant attempt, didn't survive.

52. After TalkSpot closed down, I lost my consulting contract, and Free Republic lost the use of WorldStream's server resources and had to locate a new ISP.

53. Free Republic ultimately moved to ISP Channel of Mountain View, California. We installed our own web server computer at their location in Mountain View.

54. The popularity of Free Republic steadily increased to the point that there are now approximately 5,000 to 8,000 "posts" (including both articles and comments related to those articles) made to Free Republic daily.

FreeRepublic Southern California Chapter

55. Neither Free Republic or I have any connection with the association which calls itself FreeRepublic Southern California Chapter beyond the fact that the members of FreeRepublic Southern California Chapter are "fans" and users of the Free Republic web site. I have received no money, dues or payments from the Free Republic Southern California Chapter. The "Free Republic" referred to in Paragraph 15 of the Declaration of Heather L Wayland In Support of Plaintiffs Motion For Partial Summary Judgment is not the Free Republic which is the defendant in this action. Neither I nor Free Republic have any connection with or control over the FreeRepublic Southern California Chapter referred to by Ms. Wayland.

Chappell Aldridge

56. Counsel for Free Republic in this lawsuit requested that a search be done for any posts and user names registered on the site by Chappell Aldridge, who submitted a declaration in support of Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment.

57. During the registration process at FreeRepublic, users are required to supply a valid e-mail address. They also supply a screen name of their own creation, and a real name, which is unverifiable by FreeRepublic and can thus can also be made up. These records are maintained in a user registration database that is used to permit users to log in and post articles and comments. There only a few rather weak constraints in this system that prevent a person from creating multiple user accounts with FreeRepublic.

58. At my request, my son, John Robinson, performed a search on Free Republic's web server to examine Free Republic's user registration database, and certain other records as described below, to ascertain the nature of any postings to FreeRepublic by Chappell Aldridge. In addition, we made certain other investigations, as described below:

59. Free Republic's User Registration database was searched for occurrences of the name "Chappell Aldridge" and variations thereof, and for other words, phrases, names or e-mail addresses that are reliably associated with Mr. Aldridge, as described below.

60. Mr. Aldridge, known to us as a long-time opponent of the conservative views often expressed by many Free Republic "regulars," has registered at FreeRepublic under many, many different pseudonyms. A sampling of his Free Republic registrations likely attributable to Mr. Aldridge, as explained below, are attached as Exhibit 1059.

61. I am not certain that number 3 is Mr. Aldridge because in certain respects it is unlike the pattern of his other user registrations. However, I believe it to be Mr. Aldridge because of the Screen Name and E-mail address supplied.

62. The E-Mail address for the pseudonym "Xtream1st" (No. 7 in this list) is Mr. Aldridge's initials are "tca" and it is a common internet convention to user one's initials in an e-mail address. This e-mail address indeed belongs to Chappell Aldridge as shown by the West's Legal Directory listing for Mr. Aldridge, found at URL address &version_number=1 A true and correct copy of the listing for Mr. Aldridge from West's Legal Directory is attached hereto as Exhibit 1033. In addition, at URL address the email address is listed for a poster using the name "Eschoir" who ridicules and is critical of Free Republic.

63. In addition, a user registered as Mr. Aldridge has posted articles from the Washington Post onto the web site. A true and correct copy of one such post is attached hereto as Exhibit 1034.

64. Posting under the above pseudonyms, and many other pseudonyms, Mr. Aldridge has on many occasions declared his abiding hostility toward Free Republic and toward me personally. A representative sampling of postings illustrating his hostility toward Free Republic are attached hereto as Exhibits 1035, 1036 and 1037.

65. Posting under some of these pseudonyms, such as Xtream1st, Mr. Aldridge posts offensive materials, or poses as a "deranged conspiracy" theorist. Examples of such postings are found in Exhibits 1038 and 1039 hereto, which are true and correct copies of posts of this nature which I believe were made by Mr. Aldridge posing as Xtream1st. This is consistent with his self-described "ceaseless work to put FR in the worse possible light," See, Exhibit 1052, and his prolific use of a large number of pseudonymns on the Free Republic site. See below, and Exhibits 1048 and 1049.

66. There is a bulletin board area on the Yahoo! web site known as "TheAntiFreepers." It is found at It is a Yahoo! club whose purpose is stated by its name. In this bulletin board, "Eschoir" posts under the pseudonym "Not_Tab_Align." In several of these posts on TheAntiFreepers, the poster "Not_Tab_Align" reveals that he posts to Free Republic as "Eschoir," among many other names. True and correct copies of examples of such statements by Not_Tab_Align are attached hereto as Exhibits 1040-1042. In particular, in Exhibit 1040, "Not_Tab_Align" remarks that he appeared at a Washington rally organized by Free Republic known as the "March for Justice", and joined those present for drinks at a bar afterword, and was photographed with Free Republic users "ParrotsUp" and "Jolly":

Just Got Back
Posted by Not_Tab_Align on 1999-07-23 23:28:00
msg 9710
“from the Spurtz bar. I've been coopted. I met ParrotsUp, he bought me an Old Dominion beer, we were invited to tongue kiss by CaL, a picture was taken by her of Jolly, PU and me, what can I say. I will debrief at length as I put things in personal perspective.”

67. There is a photograph taken at that event, to which "Not_Tab_Align" makes reference in this post: "ParrotsUp" is on the left, "Eschoir" in the middle, and "Jolly" is on the right. The web address of the Internet web page with this photo is, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit 1043. The web address of the post on TheAntiFreepers site where Not_Tab_Align states that he appeared as Eschoir in the above photo is URL address d=12172625&action=m&mid=9710 It therefore can be reasonably concluded that Thomas Chappell Aldridge is both "Eschoir" on Free Republic and "Not_Tab_Align" on TheAntiFreepers.

68. I have on many occasions revoked Mr. Aldridge's posting privileges on Free Republic because of the abusive conduct illustrated by the Exhibits to this declaration. Mr. Aldridge can and does easily circumvent this effort by creating new usernames and registrations. Posting as "Not_Tab_Align" on TheAntiFreepers, Mr. Aldridge describes how he has registered on Free Republic under as many as fifty (50) different pseudonyms, counsels others on how to do so, and further describes how he uses these many pseudonyms to harass, annoy and disrupt Free Republic and James Robinson. Examples of these comments are attached hereto as Exhibits 1044, 1045 1046, and 1047. In Exhibits 1044 and 1045 he exults over the distress he hopes has caused me by using so many different pseudonyms to disrupt the Free Republic site.

69. Mr. Aldridge has frequently displayed his intense personal hostility toward me and Free Republic in publicly posted materials. True and correct copies of examples of these statements are found in Exhibits 1048, 1049, 1050, 1053, and 1054. In Exhibit 1049 he makes reference to posing as other people and posting material under such false names in his "ceaseless work to put FR in the worse possible light."

70. The nature of Mr. Aldridge's motives is illustrated by reading Exhibits 1048 and 1049 in sequence. In Exhibit 1048, Mr. Aldridge, in an exchange with me (Jim Robinson) on TheAntiFreepers bulletin board, states that he had posed as "Lenny." In Exhibit 1049 Mr. Aldridge celebrates the possibility that his disinformation in falsely claiming to have been "Lenny" may have gotten the actual Lenny banned from FreeRepublic.

71. Exhibit 1051 is a true and correct copy of a post made by Mr. Aldridge to TheAntiFreepers under the name "Not_Tab_Align" in which he describes retrieving an article from the FreeRepublic archives in for the purpose of proving damages for the Washington Post.

Re: Eschoir is EVERYWHERE!!!!
08/02/1999 12:17 am EDT

“You are a little late on that one - see the editing job done by Navigator on the last response? Wouldn't you like to know what was cut out?”

“Well, there were some remarks on where the article came from. That is, on the washington post archives search, they produce the date and first paragraph of the article but want to charge you for it. I didn't pay for the article. Where did I go for it?”

“Hint, it involves something called the WhiteWater Archives.”

“And after posting it, I gave the attribution of the poster who had originally posted the article. Thus saving me money, and proving damages to the Washington Post from Free Republic. Nav toned it down, and rather swiftly.’

“LOL hehe!”

72. "LOL" stands for "Laughing out Loud." The date on this post by Not_Tab_Align is August 2, 1999.

73. In Exhibits 1052, 1053 and 1054, Mr. Aldridge, posting on TheAntiFreepers as "Not_Tab_Align" in an exchange with me, posting as "JimRob", ridicules the Free Republic archives as useless to anyone other than himself, including even to me. 74. In Exhibits 1055, 1056, 1057 and 1058, Mr. Aldridge, posting on TheAntiFreepers as "Not_Tab_Align", ridicules counsel for Free Republic, Brian L. Buckley, and taunts my son, John Robinson, by predicting a victory for the plaintiffs and bankruptcy for me.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

James Robinson


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