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Libel Lawsuits against USENET rise

This article notes that reality that the USENET Newsgroups (comp.database.oracle.server for example), are rife with mean people who freely commit libel and defamation.

Libel Lawyers Descend on USENET

There has been a huge increase in litigation as web publishers are being held to the same rules as any other journalist.  Also see the book on protection from Cyberstalkers.

The article notes that people are starting to fight back.

"Friends were asking me if I'd seen what was being said about me in the newsgroups. About the only thing I wasn't accused of (it can be only a matter of time before I am!) was pedophilia.

My professional achievements evaporated. My intelligence was independently assessed at around the level of one of the higher primates, and my knowledge, competence and judgment were all described in terms that, if any of my clients took them seriously, would have ended my income.

For someone who actually inhabits the flame-basted wastes of Usenet, however, such libels can be very serious.

As a result, despite years of traditional restraint, the Usenetizens are starting to abandon their quaint old-fashioned beliefs in ultimate freedom of speech, and are taking their antagonists to Court." . . .

Cases will increase. You can be sued in Canada for a libel you posted when you lived in Hong Kong or Venezuela. The libelous reach of the internet means you could find yourself arraigned under the repressive laws of a country you have never heard of, for saying something you thought was "fair comment" in the UK, or covered by the free speech amendment in the US.



 

 
 
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