Tuzov claims not owning “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” in court statement
Penza, 2 March 2016. PenzaNews. The individual businessman Alexander Tuzov has claimed he is not the owner of “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” in LiveJournal, which was removed in February 2016. The aforementioned blog contained provocative information that concerned such people as some of the high-ranking officials of the Penza region.
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“I would like to state that this webpage does not belong to Alexander Vladislavovich Tuzov,” he said on Wednesday, March 2, during the preliminary Arbitration Court session on the case by VolgaInterMedia versus himself on recovery of compensation for illegal use of copyrighted work.
Moreover, Alexander Tuzov provided the judge Svetlana Novikova and the complainant with his preliminary statement on the case, according to which he was unable to prepare “a detailed statement with full-fledged motivation” as he lacked a number of documents.
However, as representation of the defendant pointed out for Alexander Tuzov, the required materials stripped off personal data have been sent to the latter by mail within the set terms before the court session: the additional material to the court statement and the statement via EMS, and the notarized copies of website inspection protocols via “first class” mail.
According to tracking information available on the EMS website, the mail has been received by the addressee back in February 25, while the package of 2 kg 664, which contains the copies of protocols, still remains uncollected at the Penza post office on Konnozavodskaya street as of the same day, for reasons unknown.
During the preliminary session, representative of the complainant confirmed the claims, while the defendant declined to admit them in full.
“No, I do not admit them in full,” Alexander Tuzov claimed.
“Up until this minute I have not inspected the arguments by the complainant which are key from the law point of view which, as we understand, are founding legal fact. [...] Secondly, the evidence I reflected in my statement were not presented, as is the fact that some of the claims related to the web portal of the free American LiveJournal [‘Alexander Tuzov’s Blog’] belongs to the defendant,” he explained.
Also, Alexander Tuzov several times tried to attract the judge’s attention to the statement that the complainant sent him blank pages instead of the claim by presenting a torn envelope and an A4 sheet of paper titled “Letter Opening Act”; however, the argument was dismissed.
At the same time, there was no mention of the alleged acts of falsification which became the topic of a number of recent online publications: the court did not receive the receipt that would confirm the fact that the defendant received the letter with court notice, and as a result no such information was included in the case.
However, Alexander Tuzov admitted he still struggles to understand why he as an individual businessman was chosen as the defendant in the case if the web domain and the media source are registered on an individual person as a proprietor, while the individual businessman status was granted only in November 2015.
“Internet is a tough cookie, we do understand it, there are hackers, competition, viruses, programs that breach any profile, so evidence base is the main thing in this type of cases. I would like to survey that,” he said.
The judge Svetlana Novikova had to ask the defendant twice about his preferred way to study the case materials, as Alexander Tuzov struggled to formulate his reply in a single attempt.
“The court would choose the time, I’ll photo the documents of interest with my iPhone in a few minutes, study them and present a full-fledged statement by the next court session – a full-fledged one where I will mention everything I want to mention,” he claimed.
The judge asked the defendant and the complainant to agree on the time and place of the meeting to allow the former to study the originals of notarized website inspection protocols in person, which was met with no objections from either party.
Following that, Svetlana Novikova stated that the court finds it necessary to request the authors of photographs to be involved in the case as third parties in the case.
“What would be your opinion: Is the case ready for the review, or will there be any other evidence provided?” she asked.
“We think we are not yet ready for the review, for two reasons. The first reason is that we would like to see a full reply by Mr. Tuzov. The second is that currently – to our regret, this is indeed a difficult technical process – we got in touch with the administrator of LiveJournal directly, in America. They promised us to provide the necessary reply on the user of the aforementioned webpage [on the owner of ‘Alexander Tuzov’s Blog’]. So there is an objective delay in that. We did not expect Mr. Tuzov to reject ownership of this webpage, but if that is the case…” said the representative of the complainant.
“Very well. Due to the need to involve third parties in the case and to provide additional evidence, the court postpones the preliminary court session to April 6, 14.10,” the judge said.
Following that, Alexander Tuzov asked whether it is possible for him to make a statement to involve an expert from the K Department of the Penza region Ministry of the Interior, claiming that “very specific technical issues are concerned here.”
“As I can here, the attorney says very emphatically, thank you very much, says they made a request. A request [to the administrator of LiveJournal], as you realize – you are not an expert, you may not realize it – a request that will come, we know that, it is a request and a reply – that is a link to a certain IP address, nothing more,” Alexander Tuzov told the judge.
After much deliberation on the account registration procedure in social networks and the possibility to disguise online using special software, Alexander Tuzov’s speech structure began to fray even further: he began repeating certain phrases, mistaking facts and making unfounded presumptions.
“LiveJournal, LiveJournal, I presume, I presume, this is my guess of evaluation that this LiveJournal account may have been created as a mirror by my competitors – as a mirror. Since whatever they published in that LiveJournal was an almost full repeat of what was on the website which is registered as a media source. So I can’t deny that in order to compromise a law-abiding media source, somebody – some evildoer – made a mirror on the US webhost, with no passport, with no identifying actions like they do in any social network, and decided not only to, pardon my language, yank 3 million rubles out of me here in the court, but also compromise me by recording [original speech in Russian contains lexical errors] in their newspaper [on PenzaNews website] – here, I attached it for you how they are writing that Tuzov – an officer of the Soviet KGB – was flinging crap [sic] at a great number of people. To write such evidence in a licensed media that is [registered] in the Rospotrebnadzor [in reality Roskomnadzor], there must be base. I am not writing after all that Polosin [PenzaNews editor-in-chief] did anything. I am not laying [original speech in Russian contains lexical errors], I will read it for you from a screenshot now. You have a screen of the article lying on your table now, read the last paragraph – that Tuzov, that’s the meaning, smeared many people. I was not smearing many people,” he said; however, he did not read out the aforementioned excerpt from the article.
“If you want to, we may hold an examination. Will be seeing if that webpage is a mirror or not,” Svetlana Nikonova proposed.
“I do not insist on examination. If the complainant demands that – let them hold it and pay the costs,” Alexander Tuzov reacted.
“You need to disprove the claims,” the judge explained to him.
“I am saying that the LiveJournal [account ‘Alexander Tuzov’s Blog’] does not belong to me – in the format they are displaying in court. That’s it. What else do I need to do? Show you how here within 5 minutes I can pull out a Mac [Apple PC] for any of the persons in this room and register a LiveJournal with a photo by a photographer? Do you want that?” Alexander Tuzov asked Svetlana Nikonova.
“It is clear that it is possible. But what of the evidence?” the judge asked.
“This LiveJournal [account ‘Alexander Tuzov’s Blog’] does not belong to me, Alexander Vladislavovich Tuzov, in the content that is in here,” the defendant spoke in return, using a likely rehearsed expression.
Following that, the representative of the complainant reminded the defendant that most of the copyrighted photos were used not in “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” but on the website of the officially registered media source that employs Alexander Tuzov as the editor-in-chief, and proposed the conditions that amounted to a possible out-of-court settlement option.
Alexander Tuzov replied that he “likes this approach,” but suggested that he is ready to buy some of the photos for 1,000 rubles apiece, to the amusement of some of the persons present in the court room.
“50 photos of 45 – ready to buy them for 1,000 [rubles] honestly, as a law-abiding citizen, in order to not bring shame neither on them, nor on myself, as this is being described and scrutinized every day – all the city, everybody are in stitches over us, pardon my language. Just in stitches outright! I, for one, do not like that. I was a senior officer of the you know which service. I am ashamed,” Alexander Tuzov admitted.
As PenzaNews reported earlier, in January 2016, “VolgaInterMedia” initiated a case in the Penza region Arbitration Court against the individual businessman Alexander Tuzov on recovery of compensation of 3 million rubles overall for illegal use of copyrighted photos on two websites.
The first preliminary court hearing took place on February 8. Even though the accused party had been addressed a hearing summons containing the date and time of the hearing, and a request of arbitration, neither he nor his representative appeared in the court.
At the same time, the complainant presented a package of documents in confirmation of illegal use of copyrighted work by the accused party.
As a result, the court decided to postpone the preliminary hearing to March 2.
Alexander Tuzov petitioned to familiarize with materials of the case on February 9.
On the evening of the same day, the PenzaNews editor-in-chief Pavel Polosion, who earlier suggested that Alexander Tuzov was likely to play victim, received a text message on his personal mobile phone with an offer to “settle the issue out of court.”
On February 15, the president of “VolgaInterMedia” Ivan Malikov met with Alexander Tuzov on the latter’s initiative, and offered him to settle the issue out of court for half the amount, with an option to pay it in installments; however, the Alexander Tuzov declined, saying he does not have the money.
On the next day, Ivan Malikov expressed an opinion that the failure of out-of-court settlement talks forced the administrator of “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” to delete his LiveJournal account. The president of “VolgaInterMedia” said he welcomes the decision, although it will not help the blogger in question escape the liability.
In late February, the complainant updated the claims to Alexander Tuzov and listed 74 facts of illegal use of photos instead of 60, for the same expected compensation amount of 3 million rubles.