Comment Deleted Because of Libel Chill

21 Apr ’07

For the first time, I’ve edited a part of a comment on this blog because of a concern that it might expose me to potential liability for defamation. I think the odds of a claim are almost astronomically low, but still possible. “Possible” because the would-be plaintiff has a demonstrated history of litigation, and because the law is not clear on liability of the host for comments. And of course, in a supremely ironic twist, the comment I edited (which is very well argued, and passionately made, and in a world that made sense would in unedited form clearly be legitimate and necessary political commentary) points out exactly this danger. If this very moment is not reason enough for us to have in Canada a safe harbour that is the equivalent to Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, I don’t know what would be.

Update: I’ve edited this post’s title from “Comment Edited” to “Comment Deleted”, and I’ve deleted the comment I describe here. Not because I believe there is anything inherently problematic with the comment, either in its original form or its edited form, but because I believe that I might be targeted in this lawsuit merely for permitting the comment at all. And not for any good reason, but merely because the number of defendants in this suit seems to be growing (Jon Newton of p2pnet has been added) and I’ve no intention of permitting comments that have any chance of being used as a pretext to sweep me up in it.

Previous post:

Next post: