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But the point had been made.
Recently the publisher of one of my law books and I were approached by a man who had been the plaintiff/appellant in a 1999 disability discrimination case which I squibbed in that book. He claimed invasion of privacy and demanded that the Google Books page, containing an excerpt from my book (which happened to include that case squib), be taken down. Of course, the gentleman relinquished all reasonable expectations of privacy when he filed his suit, and the appellate opinion is a public record. But, frankly, the publisher and I both felt it was simpler to take it down than to make a fight of it. However, I found the incident disturbing.
In 25 years of writing law books and newsletters, I have published 15 books and currently contribute to two monthly bulletins. Two of my books have been continuously in print for a quarter century; both will appear in their 8th editions this year.
IN ALL THIS TIME AND THROUGH ALL THESE PUBLICATIONS, I NEVER BEFORE WAS APPROACHED BY A FORMER LITIGANT WITH THE TEMERITY TO INSIST THAT HIS CASE NOT BE COMMENTED UPPON... NOT ONCE, NOT EVER.
The Internet is the 21st century's version of the Wild West. Certainly, much is posted that is libelous and/or an invasion of privacy. But serious scholarly commentary --- whether on the quality of a press and its publications or on a published court opinion --- does not fall into either of those categories.
I am reminded of the "slap suits" pursued by aggressive corporations against scholars whose published research was not to the companies' liking. See, e.g.,
While I am an attorney and would defend my rights vigorously, for most academics --- unless they are covered by their university's liability insurance --- the prospect of paying an attorney at today's hourly rates would itself be a financially debilitating burden. That's why such suits are so deadly.