Yesterday representatives of Solengo Capital requested we remove their marketing brochure from our website. We told them to suck it.
You remember Solengo, right? It's the hedge fund that's being started by a team of traders from Amaranth, including the best known energy trader in the world, Brian Hunter.
Their reason for why we should do this sort of thing this request was quite extraordinary. Apparently the man from Solengo was under the impression that because his employer had stamped “confidential” (and other words to that effect) on its brochure, we were under a duty to keep their brochure confidential. It was as if the mere possession or perhaps knowledge of the brochure had conferred upon us a duty of confidentiality to them.
Imagine if you came upon a loan agreement stating a rate of interest a six points above LIBOR and were told later in the day that you were now under an obligation to pay the interest because you knew about it. You’d scoff, and not just because the interest rate was ridiculous. You know perfectly well that no one can impose a duty upon you without your agreement. You owe no one a debt unless you have agreed to pay them, taken something that belongs to them or they happen to be the government.
In the same way, we don’t believe we operate subject to the unilateral confidentiality assertions that get stamped on emails, offering documents or marketing brochures. We’ll keep the identity of our sources confidential—always—but that’s because we have an open promise to people who share valuable information with us. But writing “confidential” on a document does not obligate DealBreaker or anyone else to keep your secrets secret.
Apparently, we’re not the only ones Solengo has been asking to remove their brochure. Reuters reports that Solengo’s censors have also hit NakedShorts.com. Apparently NakedShorts decided to take down the materials because Solengo threatened to sue and, well, you know what lawyers cost these days. Who wants that? There's no fault in keeping your powder dry, and we can't blame NakedShorts for backdown from this particular fight.
But what is more amazing is that Solengo keeps offering up the same lame rationale for why the online business press should bow to their will and remove the brochure—namely, because Solengo says so.
Here's what it's chief operating officer told Reuters:
Shondell Sabad, chief operating officer of Solengo, confirmed in an email that the firm has asked the blogs to remove the material.
"The request was made to remove the brochure as it is confidential material and the blogger was not authorized by Solendo to reproduce or disseminate the information," said Sabad in an email to Reuters
Confidential! Not authorized!
That’s what we do around here, Sabad baby. We print things that, frankly, no one has authorized us to print or disseminate. No one but the founding fathers, the tradition of the free press and the First Amendment. (And, of course, Al Gore, inventor of these here internets, our investors, our sponsors and our very own personal founder, Elizabeth Spiers.)
The story continues, of course, because Solengo isn’t taking no--or "suck it"--for an answer. More on that later!
Ex-Amaranth traders ask blogs to remove materials [Reuters]