It’s Hard To Settle Quietly In The Blogosphere

    October 12, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Call it the latest in castoffs of a litigious society, or maybe a lesson in the new transparency the Internet allows. Simpler, if you want to keep a legal threat quiet, make sure your threat is a) valid and b) not made to a blogger with a history of telling everybody about legal threats.

Lest you like the wrath of the blogosphere, which is never fun, short lived as it usually is. I should know. I’ve been compared to child rapists, part of an anti-Jews-for-Jesus conspiracy, e-lynched by teenagers in the comments, and have suffered essays against my commie leftist ideas – I’m more of centrist, by the way. The wrath is usually due to poor reading comprehension or, admittedly, to poor message craftsmanship.

Just part of putting my name and mug out there in unprotected glory, or lack thereof.

But sometimes the fiery vengeance is justified, and a consequence of so many people (commentators, generally) having the shield of anonymous commentary so readily at their disposal.

A man threatening TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, for example, is feeling the heat, even singled out for online Jihad. At TechCrunch, a commentator posted a link to a photo of Ashton Kutcher, which leads us now to an accusation of copyright infringement, demand for shush money, requirement that Arrington delete the image from Google’s index, and a desire to "settle this quietly."

Like I said, bloggers have learned nothing is settled quietly in the blogosphere.

That link, which caused the photo to appear in Google’s results attributed to TechCrunch, would, if quietly settled, cost Arrington $150,000 now, or $1.5 million if it goes (quietly) to court.

Arrington, being Arrington, posted the threat, which garnered 475 comments on the post, a couple of which are from the one making the threats, digging his hole deeper by making the subsequent accusation of "robing people of there work."

I’ve refrained from using his name. I know how it feels. I write now to illustrate a point at his expense, not so much to dogpile.

The point is: The blogosphere is a powerful weapon – the people’s press (read: not owned by conglomerates with every inclination to shape the news) – and the physical, established world outside is learning (slowly) that it stings. Not kills. Just stings.

Because they do forget about you eventually, once they’ve tired of stoning.

But what’s also interesting (and laudable) is that as the – what shall we call them? – the Litigious Class abuses the privileges of the courts with unfounded threats, DMCA takedown notices, and even claims to copyrights of cease and desist letters as attempts to silence critics, the Blogging Class has a breathtaking method of fighting back.

Simpler (I’m always having to do this), the transparency that gets it trouble is the same transparency used to rouse the masses to their defense, and, in the end, gauge and/or sway public opinion.

Maybe that wasn’t simpler. Oh well, sue me then.