Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A (sad) sign of our times

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...
English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A publisher has threatened a blogger with a one-billion-dollar suit.

This sort of conduct is, sadly, becoming more and more common.  One of my publishers and I were recently badgered into removing an excerpt from one of my books from Google Books.  The badgerer was a former plaintiff in a disability lawsuit which I summarized in the book excerpt.  Apparently, he wants to scrub any indication of his disability from the Internet.  And an alumna of my university wants a story about her run-in with the justice system expunged from the online archive of the student newspaper.

I predict that we will see more and more of this activity going forward, because once you are bad-mouthed on the worldwide web, you are badmouthed everywhere and forever.

While I understand, and sometimes sympathize with, the motive of these censorious folks, at the end of the day I believe that the Internet is the greatest boon to free speech in human history.  The courts must protect it from these crusaders, as well as from those who would tie all content down with copyright strings.

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