That’s because this morning, I gave back $1,180.
“Hi XXXX: Thanks, mate, but I couldn’t accept it”, I said to the Canadian p2pnet reader who’d donated it. “But by offering it you’ve done me a good turn — story on p2pnet to follow.”
That was in the note which went with the refunds.
I returned the money because XXXX had already contributed two amounts he couldn’t afford.
They came to $300.
And now, on top of that, he’d in effect given me his month’s wages.
This from a guy who until very recently was sleeping rough because he didn’t have a house to live in.
But he’s also someone who fervently believes Canada wouldn’t be Canada unless people are free to speak their minds without fear or hindrance, and that you have to stand up to keep it that way.
Here’s the story …
Almost five years ago multi-million-dollar Australian company Sharman Networks, and a woman named Nikki Hemming, went after me because an anonymous reader had posted something in p2pnet Sharman, initially, and then Hemming, didn’t like. So they sued me for defamation.
Sharman owns Kazaa, the P2P file sharing application that’s involved in the majority of RIAA Sue ‘Em All cases. Hemming runs Kazaa. Sharman dropped its end of the lawsuit, but Hemming kept hers going and even after well over four years, it’s yet to be heard.
Shortly after it started I was at another fund-raising event, this time for the Kaaza defamation suit. During the course of it, I was on a panel at a freedom of speech round table.
Also there was Michael Pilling because he, too, was involved in a defamation lawsuit, this time brought by Wayne Crookes and when I wrote about the round table, I linked to a link Crookes didn’t like.
He demanded I “repudiate” what he called the “libel” and “apologise”.
I refused and he took it to court.
Ultimately, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia agreed with BC Supreme Court judge Stephen Kelleher’s earlier decision that website owners aren’t responsible for defamatory content on other sites to which they’ve linked.
If the linking website endorses the material or encourages readers to go to the linked site, the linking site may be liable because that might constitute publication, he said.
But I hadn’t published anything, or commented in any way. I’d merely linked.
Wanted — $5,000
Crookes’ final effort to stifle freedom of speech will be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada on December 7
As I’ve said in other posts asking for donations, my lawyer, Dan Burnett, is providing his skills and time for free. But we estimate we’ll need around $5,000 for direct and unavoidable out-of-pocket costs such as travel, accommodation, legal disbursements.
But when you get right down to it, I don’t have to be there because it won’t be me or Crookes arguing before the justices from our respective points of view. It’ll be our lawyers, addressing other lawyers.
I could never afford to pay Dan Burnett in which case, Crookes, a wealthy man with three title search companies in Vancouver and a former senior federal Green Party of Canada officer, would have had everything going for him.
Dan is clever, experienced and articulate and his particular expertise is in media law. But if I was paying him, I’d never be able to afford him and I’d be representing myself.
Not a good idea.
I’d take Crookes on any time one-on-one, but when it comes to the letter of the law, rather than what’s right or wrong, I’d be lost.
We have to have lawyers speak for us because only they can understand the archaic languages they’re created for themselves over the centuries and which, all too often, stand in the way of fair treatment and fair play.
In tightly restricted courtoom environments, only they can function. And there, dollars, not sense, rule, more often than not.
Obviously, I’d like to be at the hearing, and I think I should be there. But I can’t afford it by myself. So if push comes to shove, I’ll channel whatever’s in the Crookes vs p2pnet fund to Dan, and I’ll stay here on Vancouver Island and watch it streamed live on the SCC website —- like anyone else who’s interested.
Of course, if Crookes wins, it’ll be me who’ll have to somehow pay him whatever damages the court decides on.
I’ve returned XXXX’s donation. But the spirit in which it was made is the most important part, and that’ll remain alive whatever else happens.
So for Crookes vs The Net, anything you can afford will really help.