Having an actual defamation lawyer as one of your co-defendants is a major plus!
I liked paragraph 4. Warman had sued not only Kate and Kathy, but their website addresses, too. That makes about as much sense as suing a phone number. A URL is simply a place in cyberspace. It’s not a legal entity. It’s just plain old weird that Warman was suing those electrons, and Ashby pointed that out.
Paragraphs 7 and 8 are good points: the nature of the blogosphere is that people can rebut and respond immediately, and blogs incorporate those changes in real time. There is a rough and tumble — even rude — nature to the Internet, but netiquette (and common sense) suggests that if someone complains with merit, those complaints are often incorporated. It’s the whole Web 2.0 thing — interactive.
Warman knows that as well as anyone — what with his extensive experience as a member of the Stormfront online community. When Warman went online in his various neo-Nazi personas, he interacted with other members of Stormfront, correcting them, insulting them, rebutting them, agreeing with them, plotting with them, dissing Jews and gays with them.
Warman knew his way around the Net. But while he was comfortable chatting on neo-Nazi websites, and chastising people for not being white enough, or Nazi enough, for some reason he didn’t deign to write the Internet equivalent to a “letter to the editor” to Kate or Kathy’s sites correcting what he thought were their errors. Why’s that?
Paragraphs 11-15 are weird, too. Warman has sued Kathy for things she didn’t write. If I’m not mistaken, our friend Jay Currie wrote some of those words, but Warman hasn’t sued him. I’m not encouraging anyone to sue Jay, but it’s a little bit odd that Warman has sued Kathy for Jay’s remarks.
Paragraph 16 is a pretty important point, and it goes to a much larger issue than the substance of Warman’s suit. Warman seeks to establish new defamation law, in the realm of the Internet. In his statement of claim, he wants the courts to hold websites legally responsible not only for what they publish, but for what they link to. By that theory, anyone on the Internet is liable for everyone on the Internet. For you are liable for everyone you link to, and they’re liable for everyone they link to (and so are you, too), and so on and so on. It sets up a cascading series of infinite liability.
Fortunately, such a punitive approach to defamation and censorship is not Canadian law. Yet.
The heart of Kate and Kathy’s defence is paragraphs 17 to 22. That’s where they plead that what they wrote was based on true facts, and their fair comments on those facts, as part of a bona fide public debate.
Paragraph 24 is deceptively small. It claims that Warman’s poor reputation isn’t because of Kathy and Kate, but because of Warman’s repeated postings of bigoted material. That’s just a sentence in the statement of defence. I expect it will turn into a week at trial.
Ezra’s readers are having fun in the comments!
Now: This is an opportune time for me to (reluctantly) remind people about my Legal Defence Fund…
The suit will cost about $30,000 (each) for us to fight.
My readers have already been extremely generous — however, if anyone reading this has a rich friend who wants to play an important role in a history-making lawsuit, which could impact the very nature of blogging…
Thanks in advance, all!
PS: Another NEW way to support me (that is, my lawyer…) is to sign up for a smaller, monthly donation. I’ve just set up a button (scroll down) that lets you, in effect, “subscribe” to my defence fund.
You’ll donate just $10 a month, every month.
I have thousands of daily readers — I’d be thrilled if some of you signed up for this “subscription” option. It would serve as a big show of support, not only while my legal troubles are going on — and they will be going on for years, unless Warman drops the suit — but for my blogging in general.
Remember: I do this for free, and the candor you appreciate makes it almost unthinkable that I will ever land a paying gig with the mainstream media.
And this isn’t just about me.
This lawsuit is an attempt to make blogging as we understand it impossible.
So if you’d like to make a monthly donation of only $10/month, click here:
Monthy $10 donation:
UPDATE: Human Rights Commission employees make between $54,000 and $77,000 a year!