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'Inventor of email' receives damages from Gawker's collapsed empire

Former publisher Nick Denton agrees to pay Shiva Ayyadurai $750,000

Former Gawker publisher Nick Denton has agreed to pay computer scientist and biotech entrepreneur Dr Shiva Ayyadurai $750,000 in damages after the blog wrote that Ayyadurai invented claims that he invented "email" in the late 1970s.

The settlement was bundled along with the $31m damages paid to wrestler Hulk Hogan, aka Terry Gene Bollea. Ayyadurai had claimed $35m in damages for defamation against Gawker, journalist Sam Biddle, editor John Cook and founder and CEO Nick Denton.

According to Ayyadurai's website, he developed a substantial electronic mail program for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as a 14-year-old in 1978, calling it EMAIL.

Ayyadurai, who went on to complete four degrees at MIT, describes himself as the "inventor of email and polymath" and "a world-renowned systems scientist, inventor and entrepreneur". Explaining his reasons for filing for defamation, Ayyadurai wrote that he objected to being called "asshole", "loon", "dick", and suggestions that he had intentionally set out to deceive.

Internet folklore credits Ray Tomlinson, who died in March this year, with pioneering computer-to-computer electronic mail in 1971 for BBN. This software, Tomlinson pointed out, built upon SENDMSG, which provided user-to-user messaging on a single computer, which had been in common use since the early 1960s. ®

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