p2p news / p2pnet: It’s now general knowledge, online, that p2pnet is being sued for libel.
But what’s really important is the precedent-setting case points up, vividly, the dangers ancient laws which automatically assume guilt present to Freedom of Expression in Canada, even in the digital 21st century.
They’re so draconian that, “people come from all over the world to file libel suits,” as Jeffrey Shallit, a professor at Canada’s University of Waterloo, emphasises on his web site.
We’ll drink to that. p2pnet is in British Columbia, Canada, but it’s being sued from Australia. And if the lawsuit succeeds, it’ll lock the law in and anyone from anywhere will be able to continue to victimize Canadian bloggers who have the temerity to post anything which can be said to damage a reputation.
Iron-clad libel rules may have made sense 500 years ago when British royalty wanted to stop the nobility from dueling by giving them a legal remedy against character slurs, says Shallit, but, “we don’t live in the time of Henry VII any longer. Debate on political [or other] issues can’t be robust and wide-open if the threat of a libel suit hangs over you”.
And an embryo movement to have Canada’s libel laws revised and, ultimately, changed, has been born.
Meanwhile, though, even with Burnett working with, rather than for, p2pnet and editor Jon Newton, numerous other expenses remain, and to help raise awareness and funds, Canadian independent musician and record label owner Neil Leyton, long-time advocate for balanced digital copyright and internet freedom, is hosting a benefit concert at famous Toronto dinner and dance club The Rivoli on Saturday, August 5.
p2pnet will also be launching a unique Online Benefit Concert (OBC) coded by Jason Rohrer. It’ll feature music donated by musicians from around the world. Visitors will be able to either download mp3 tracks for free, or donate as much or as little as they want to help pay for lawsuit expenses and, once the case is won, continue to promote the Freedom of Expression movement to have the libel laws revised and changed placing the burden on the plaintiff, not the defendant, to prove statements are false.
“Furthermore, let’s exempt statements of personal opinion or belief, and force the plaintiff to prove that the statements were made with malicious intent,” says Shallit.
You figure there’s no way that can be achieved? Way.
Call it People to People Power – the Strength of the Net. Look what’s been achieved so far around the world in a few short years solely because now we can all talk to each other whenever and wherever we want, totally by-passing the usual coms media.
If you’d like to be in on the August 5, performance on, please contact Neil Leyton at email@example.com or 416 721 3566. If you’d like to talk to Newton, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artists who’ve so far donated tracks for the OBC include Lindy, Neil Leyton, Dennis O’Toole (Canada); blues singer/songwriter Maggie Council, Ten Mile Tide, MUTE creator Jason Rohrer who, not surprisingly, is also a passionate musician; Cold Joon (US); and Bongo Love (Zimbabwe).
We’ll be including detailed notes on the tunes and the performers on the OBC, which Rohrer is in the process of coding. And we’ll be posting a temporary html version within the next few days.
If you’d like to donate a track or two, which will also eventually be compiled into a benefit CD, please send it directly to email@example.com, with a few biographical notes and a pic.
And if you’d like to contribute right now …..
Cheers! And although words don’t even nearly do it, thanks ….