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HardOCP takes big stick to Infinium

Spat develops into legal brawl

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News website HardOCP has filed a legal action against broadband console proponent Infinium Labs, in a move which it says is aimed at "clearing the air" following a number of demands and threats made by Infinium in the past weeks.

Lawyers acting for KB Networks, the company which owns HardOCP, have based a legal action on the Declaratory Judgement Act, an article of US law which allows a company being threatened with lawsuits to force a resolution to the issue.

Infinium Labs has issued a number of legal letters and demands to HardOCP in the past fortnight, demanding that the site retract an article published last September which made a number of allegations about the company and its CEO, Tim Roberts.

However, Kyle Bennett, owner of HardOCP, maintains that he stands by the article - and now hopes to vindicate HardOCP's decision to continue publishing the article with a federal court judgement.

Lawyers acting for HardOCP explained that this new lawsuit, which has been filed in the US District Court in Dallas, is designed 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".

"We have two choices in this matter," HardOCP editor Kyle Bennett told US website GameSpot. "HardOCP.com either cowers to Infinium Labs' demands, or we embrace our right to free speech and our duty as a member of the media to report the truth on the gaming industry. The issue is much bigger than HardOCP.com. Infinium Labs is attacking a voice on the Net for sharing facts and opinions. I think we can all agree that this is a very dangerous issue to leave unchecked."

The spat between HardOCP and Infinium has taken on the aspect of a pantomime at this stage, and despite the severity of the accusations made by both parties, has certainly bordered on the ridiculous at times. Aside from the inexplicable slowness of Infinium in taking action against HardOCP - almost six months elapsed between the publication of the article and the demands for its removal - the whole affair starts to seem surreal when you consider Kevin Bachus' claim that Kyle Bennett refused invitations to view Infinium's products and manufacturing facilities because he believed that he would be physically assaulted if he visited the company.

Our ability to take the situation seriously isn't helped by the sterling efforts of humorists Penny-Arcade, who were quick to spot the pantomime nature of the whole affair and attempted to raise the ire of Infinium Labs last week by making [outlandish claims] about Tim Roberts' sexual habits.

What's most bizarre is that Infinium has allowed this issue to overshadow one of the company's most important announcements in months - namely that the Phantom console will be playable at E3, on an 8000 square foot stand in the south hall. That ought to be the big news for Infinium right now, not an unsightly and very public hair-pulling match with a hardware website.

Copyright © 2004, GamesIndustry.biz

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