HardOCP Responds To Infinium With Lawsuit

An ongoing war of words has turned into a court battle with computer hardware Website HardOCP responding to threats from Infinium Labs with a lawsuit of their own.

The issue arises from a September 17, 2003 article on HardOCP in which site owner Kyle Bennett wrote a critical analysis of Infinium’s planned Phantom gaming console and CEO Timothy Roberts.

After a threat of lawsuits and a 10-day deadline imposed by Infinium’s group of lawyers, HardOCP countered on February 27 with an actual lawsuit. According to a press release on HardOCP’s site, “The lawsuit was filed to clear the air and terminate the flurry of demands, allegations, and defamatory Internet posts directed against HardOCP.com, by Infinium Labs and law firms representing Infinium Labs and its CEO, Tim Roberts.”

The statement goes on to say that “HardOCP.com stands by its article, and we believe that the Federal Court will conclude, as HardOCP.com believes, that all relevant facts in the article are true.”

The suit is based on what is called the “Declaratory Judgment Act,” which HardOCP lawyers explained to GameSpot as an act that “permits a person or entity being threatened with lawsuits from another party to force the issue to be decided, rather than having to operate under a cloud of uncertainty and intimidation.”

On February 19, more than five months after the original article was first posted, Infinium and Roberts called a press conference and announced that they were demanding the removal of the article on HardOCP. They said that if the article was not removed, that they would file lawsuits against the Website. 

Bennett did not remove the article and posted the complete letter from Infinium on the site for all to see, along with the following statement:

“I have extended HardOCP.com’s pledge to correct any and all possible inconsistencies or errors in our editorial entitled “Behind The Phantom Console” personally to Timothy Roberts and Kevin Bachus of Infinium Labs and they have yet to inform HardOCP.com of any information we presented as being not correct. This courtesy was extended on September 17, 2003, the date the article was published and has been extended several times since then with no reply ever being received by HardOCP.com. It is my opinion that Infinium Labs’ only interest is stifling HardOCP.com and our opinions. HardOCP.com still stands by our thoughts and opinions put forth in our editorial and no amount of legal badgering and frivolous lawsuits will change those opinions that we have shared with our readers.”

Infinium responded with another letter and a set of 18 demands on February 27, the same day HardOCP filed their own suit, pointing out exactly what they wanted changed or edited in the article. In the letter, they clearly stated their demands by repeatedly writing “you need to correct your article to state…”

Bennett replied on his site stating “After hours of consideration, out of the 18 items noted we have found 5 that were in need of addressing… To put it succinctly, none of the changes below do anything to change my thoughts about Infinium Labs or change the overall content of our article in our opinion as it was published at the time.”

The changes addressed items inconsequential to the article, except for, as demanded by Infinium, a change to the statement “According to this article, they lived the high life on investors’ money and then left investors hanging for more than $15 million dollar” in reference to an article written about one of Roberts’ former companies, Broadband Infrastructure Group. 

Bennett changed the reference to the more accurate, exact quote from his cited source that states “Broadband executives lived the high life, sponsoring race cars in the Indy 500 and other races, hosting Hollywood parties, buying an interest in an airplane and making thousands of dollars worth of improvements to a $35 million headquarters. But last November (2000), the tech venture went bust. By then it had burned through more than $15 million of investors’ money, including some from several St. Louis Cardinals owners. Roberts could not be reached for comment.”

Recent information on HardOCP notes that the Infinium claims “repeatedly note statements that we never made and seem to draw illogical innuendos from the facts that were documented by Infinium Labs’ CEO Tim Roberts’ own website and resume. As for our opinions they are clearly noted as such and we stand by them.”

HardOCP is one of the most popular hardware sites on the Web and has a daily readership of 1,000s of visitors. Either way this story turns out, the publicity seems to have done more harm to Infinium than to help them, as hardware sites all over the Internet are mocking their claims, posting their own critical stories, and showing support for Bennett and HardOCP.  

As of 5:00 P.M. ET on March 3, the community forum at Infinium’s Website, which has been a hotbed for HardOCP/Infinium discussions, has been taken “down for maintenance.”