2/17/2006

Sued For What You Blog

I have been catching up on the Kinsella vs. Bourrie debacle. For those who didn't know, Warren Kinsella is trying to sue Mark Bourrie for something he wrote in his blog. Kinsella claims it was "libel." There's quite a lot to read, and if you have an interest in politics, blogging and freedom of speech, then I would encourage you to take a look.
Kinsella is out to lunch, in my opinion. I hope this lawsuit is thrown out. I can't for the life of me figure out what he considers to be libelous in the post about his tie to Guite. He wasn't accused of anything. There were (maybe) a few insults, but that is it. The guy really needs to grow up! This is not worth a lawsuit, not by a longshot.
On a more serious note, I have to say that should Kinsella win his suit, it would bode ill for bloggers everywhere. In fact, the suit would open up Pandora's box when it comes to insults online. If you can't insult someone on a blog, can you insult them on a website? What about on an email list, newsgroup or forum?

6 comments:

saskfishtales said...

While I agree with your concerns about this issue's effect on blogging, freedom of speech is a criminal matter, not civil. Canada maintains an allowance of private citizens to sue another for libel, which, really has nothing to do with free speech. If you slander someone, you still have free speech, but the slandered has a civil, legal outlet to defend him or herself.

Free speech has everything to do with being criminally convicted and jailed for your public views. This, I agree, is dangerous to a free and democratic society.

Specifically to this issue, Kinsella should swallow his pride and lighten up, especially if Bourrie's comments have not cost him any financial or social damage. From what I know about the issue, I don't think there is any proof of this occurring.

Ruth said...

Duly noted.
However, even if this isn't a free speech issue, I still think Kinsella could be opening up a Pandora's box trying to sue over something written in a blog... especially if it's just an insult.

PGP said...

I think that Kinsella thinks far too much of Kinsella.
He has shown that he can dish it out....and that he apparently cannot take it.
However the suit is puzzling because as far as I can see Bourrie just made factual statements that draw attention to KInsellas connections.
If Kinsella is ashamed of his associations whether past of present too bad. Sounds like crybaby time WK bwaahh!

Joe Calgary said...

I don't think it's a Pandora's box... it's one thing to state your opinion, or to reference anothers. It's out of bounds to lie about people though, and if Kinsella was libeled or slandered in a way which is not justifiable, then he has the right to take it up in court.

If, on the other hand, Bourrie said nothing libelous, didn't lie, and stated only pre-published or known facts, then Mr. Kinsella deserves to get a big fat fine for wasting the courts time.

Just because the internet provides a level of anonimity, does not mean it provides a license to lie about an individual.

Personal opinions, insults and such, on a person who is a public figure, known to be a public figure, and actively promotes him or herself in the public, must therefore accept the slurs and insults which might occur as a result of their actions which bring focus upon them, and are not as such actionable.

A private person, who is not a public figure, does have the right to take action against slurs and insults presented in public.

We still have to be responsible to a degree when we write anything that hits the mass media, be it a news paper or the internet.

Ruth said...

Joe Calgary, this is not about someone spreading lies. Have you read the blog entry in question?

Havril said...

Kinsella? Bourrie? This whole discussion is lost on me. And what are these "blog" things of which you speak?

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