Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar settles lawsuit with his critics

News Summary/August 9, 2016

A guru that some called a "cult" leader tried to use a trade infringement lawsuit to silence his critics.

Bloggers critical of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar called his "Art of Living" organization a "cult."

For two years the guru tried to find out who the two anonymous bloggers were through legal maneuvers and subpoenas, but he ultimately failed.

The bloggers, who said they were once followers of the guru, called the final settlement of the lawsuit a victory.

In the lawsuit the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar accused John Does Klim and Skywalker of exposing his supposed "trade secrets" by sharing documents and manuals online.

The East Bay Express reported that lawyer Matt Zimmerman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation saw the trade infringement lawsuit as a legal maneuver to suppress free speech. Since he could see no grounds for a libel case.

The bloggers reportedly did not give up easily.

Despite the legal pressure applied by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar no one ever gave up the anonymous bloggers identities.

But Skywalker did take Down the Art of Living literature as part of the final settlement, which was agreed upon in June 2012.

Skywalker stated, "The Lawsuit Is Over ... and We Won!"

But the blogger agreed to freeze his blog, "Beyond the Art of Living."

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living organization and the bloggers made a joint public statement explaining that in exchange for freezing the critical blog, Art of Living dropped its lawsuit without prejudice. Also, that Art of Living received nothing from the bloggers for its legal costs and compensated the bloggers for their attorney's fees. Art of Living also agreed to never sue Skywalker, Klim, or any of their contributors again.

Skywalker said, "Nothing prevents me or any other person from starting up a new blog critical of [Art of Living]."

Klim and Skywalker said they were confident the lawsuit would have ended in victory if it had not settled and gone to trial.

Note: This news summary is based upon the previously published news report "Blogger vs. Alleged Cult Case Ends in Favorable Settlement" written by Rachel Swan and published by the East Bay Express June 26, 2012.

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