My first Cease and Desist notice

So today I got an interesting email. It came from the legal department of a previous company I worked for (which wherewith will remain anonymous and called “the company”). Inside, in firm legal speech, I was informed that I was breaking Greek and international laws concerning anonymous enterprises and privacy. Therefore, I was ordered to remove all references to the company within 24 hours as well as any mention of software/hardware or people involved in a employee relationship with the company.

They also reserve the right to see on receiving damages resulting from the content of my site

My initial reaction was: WTF!!?

My surprise was mostly due to the fact that other than the company name (in a tag related to the post) and various generic information, such as a mentioning the operating system when I run into a computer problem, or mentioning the classic Greek ERP system when advertising the requirements of an IT position they were trying to fill (FFS! I even did that for free), I did not mention any names (specifically, I did not mention any names in a libelous fashion, but only in positive ways) and nor any other identification data.

Seriously, my worst post must have been one where I mentioned a christmas party and how boring it was. Or some random tech quotes (that every tech has) that had only my name on them. Oh and some pictures.

My impression is that apparently someone at the company saw some of my not-so-positive posts and recognized themselves in the anonymous mention, then got quite angry/insulted/whatever. Failing the option to fire me, they decided to bully me around.

So now I am pissed.

I have privatized my posts about them (even though, I really shouldn’t) until I know how much danger I am in. I know that Greece is notoriously behind in electronic rights (as exemplified by the Tsipropoulos case) and they may side with the company just because they don’t know what the hell is going on, but I want to think that International or European rights are a bit more advanced. But I just don’t know.

So I’m turning to you, my readers (yeah right I hear you say?). I want to ask any of you, especially those of you with legal background and especially in Greece, if I should worry or not and if the following are considered intellectual property or libel.

  • Mentioning the name of the company I used to work for and my position there.
  • Mentioning specifics of the company (such as saying that they were using such and such OS, or this program or whatnot). Not that I did before, but I’d like to know…
  • Pictures of me and other company stuff in events
  • Mentioning of Operating system used in an event (such as when creating a guide on how I fixed a computer). Can I say something like: “So when the Vista pc died, I had to replace the harddisk and reinstall SAP”. Can they actually consider this intellectual property?
  • Can I mention doing unpaid overtime? Am I allowed to complain about my treatment? Can I mention my salary? How about salaries of other people that used to work in there? What does the law allow me?
  • Can I rant on the incompetence of users without mentioning names. Does the fact that they work in the company make my rant a libel?
  • Can I mention the incompetence of management?
  • If I do not mention IP address’ or specific dns/netbios names, is it a violation of the company’s IP or security to mention a router or other piece of hardware vaguely? (i.e. “The router at Tsimiski”)

So I would really appreciate anyone’s advice on this, as it came out of nowhere and caught me unprepared. I do not like to be bullied and this kind stuff really gets me angry. Before I did not care about the company, hell, I even went beyond the call of duty too many times with them but this is preposterous and I would like to fight back.


3 thoughts on “My first Cease and Desist notice”

  1. db0 – I’m afraid I am no help to you, being neither Greek nor a lawyer.
    My blog has dozens of entries about the factory I work in. I have never mentioned its name but I have given lots of details about product and process, so I could be sunk if anyone got nasty.
    So I’ll be following your progress with interest.
    You said ” I had to replace the harddisk and reinstall SAP”
    See, there’s your problem right there. You work for a company that uses SAP. The big bosses who know FA about process were sold SAP. Once they had handed over the MILLIONS they could not listen to their IT boys telling them what a soul-eating dog it is and admit they had made an expensive mistake. How’s your German? Improving 🙂

  2. Heh, thanks Stewart. The SAP example was just that, an example and not based on reality but it seems far fetched to sue someone because he mention an application in use at the company…

    Mein deutsch ist scheisse 🙂

  3. Well, I know jack shit about greek laws since Solon and Perikles, but as far as you are in germany it’s unlikely that you will be in any trouble, let alone danger.

    You have hardly broken the NDA and if was not in your contract that you do not mention anything to outsiders, they can’t do a thing about it. Complaining afterwards is bollocks, they had to think of that before. I have a NDA-Thing in my contract and talked to the boss about it before I did anything – so the development status of my work is private-ized in my blog and the ready stuff (produckt packages and exhibition photos – everything that is public) is open. Though I do not use the company name in the blog due to the fact that I don’t want to make it obvious for anyone not informed by me. 😉

    What damage could be caused by reading your blog and how likely would that be? Be realistic, no judge in Germany or EU would waste his time to a matter that is just an personal bothering attempt and the lawyers will lough their ass off about that guy that complains that you wrote “his” party was boring. 😀

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