Another Attempt to Muzzle the Critics
Posted by: elena ()
Date: September 06, 2006 11:44PM

Looks like Landmarkers taking their cues from the Co$. (Gordon Greider posted this to afl.)


The Unchecked World of the Internet
Date: Thursday, August 10 @ 15:06:47 MDT
Topic: Press Release

CRESSWELL, Ore., Aug. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by Judge Edward Fadeley, Retired Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court:

Today's blogosphere is a veritable Wild West of verbal ambushes and shootouts, with very little fear of legal recourse to keep character assassination, defamation and dirty business tricks in check.

It's an area of the law that desperately needs serious attention. Self-proclaimed "experts" and "journalists" abound on the Internet. "Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty, but spewing lies, libel and invective," wrote Daniel Lyons in Forbes. Some 50 percent to 60 percent of blog attacks are now sponsored by business rivals, said a lawyer quoted in the story.

Ten years ago Congress passed a law requiring blog operators to protect the public by self-regulation. But many flout that responsibility and willingly post inaccurate messages that damage others.

That law has stifled the courts' rights to recover damages for unauthorized, negligent or dishonest use of Internet sites, including blogs. The guarantee that a person injured may use the courts to recover has existed in our culture since the century of the Magna Carta, more than 700 years ago.

But free-speech guarantees haven't previously protected libel, defamation or spoken-but-fraudulent activity. As the strong free-speech in the Oregon Constitution also provides, for example: "...but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right."

These legal holes exist while the cyber Wild West keeps getting bigger. There were about 10,000 Web sites in 1994, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review. By 2000 that number soared to more than 25 million, and sites continue to grow exponentially.

Sometimes it is impossible to find sources for damaging language published on the Internet. An example is Apple vs. Doe where, in December 2004, Apple filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County, California, against unnamed individuals who allegedly leaked information about a rumored new Apple product to several online news sites. Apple is seeking information from these "news" sites regarding identities of the sites' sources, and has subpoenaed, the email service provider for PowerPage, for email messages that could provide that information.

The courts must walk a fine line between a federal statute interpreted as creating immunity and the responsibility for the harm caused by libel.

Unfortunately, many innocent companies are being damaged by individuals out for profit or self-promotion. Even in instances where legitimate organizations have been seriously damaged by bloggers, it's difficult to counter unfounded attacks or to demand the actual sources, let alone seek the protections of the law.

It needs to be further examined to determine whether the protections in place for journalists are appropriate for bloggers, when they are not held to the same standards as the mainstream media. Journalists are held to account for what they say, whether or not they are quoting someone else. Unfortunately, the law has yet to create reasonable standards for the Internet and allows anyone to quote any source, with almost no liability for what they say.

The impact on innocent parties can be severe -- some companies have lost millions in stock value from an irate individual speaking anonymously as an expert on a blog soapbox, making statements intended to be read as fact, although they may be nothing more than the venom generated by a personal and perhaps unjustified grievance. Even when such statements are later corrected or balanced, misperceptions are hard to change after the first assertion of fact.

Commenting on a recent case in which Traffic-Power is suing Aaron Wall, host of the Blog, for defamation and the disclosure of company trade secrets, Steve Rubel, VP of client services with Cooper Katz and Co., noted, "Right now the world of consumer-created media is a bit like the Wild West. Anything goes. Eventually, as cases are decided (in either direction) and clear precedents are set, online marketers and their legal teams will be in a better position to assess their potential downside risk in jumping into the blogosphere -- if any."

The courts aren't helping matters. For example, Landmark Education, an international training and development company that presents The Landmark Forum, dropped its lawsuit in New Jersey against Rick Ross, a self-professed "cult expert" who has built a career and reputation by quoting people's opinions on his Web site. Landmark Education terminated its lawsuit when, in an unrelated case, a New Jersey court significantly limited the kind of Internet behavior it would consider damages for. Court decisions like that make it even more difficult for companies to protect themselves against misinformation and false accusations.

Ross, who claims he's an expert on cults, religions and any organization he deems potentially harmful, should be held to a higher standard - not a lesser one. Rick Ross is a convicted felon with no degree of any kind. He says so on his own web site. His lack of professional qualifications doesn't stop Ross from freely labeling credible organizations in the personal development area "worthless" and "faked." While Ross acknowledges that Landmark Education is definitely not a cult, he nevertheless smears the company through innuendo. Ross also attacks John Gray, author of "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus," the Mormon Church and the practice of yoga.

Whether or not you endorse Gray or yoga, the law should protect their rights and demand journalistic standards and accountability.

It's high time to fill the gap in a system that allows defamation in the blogosphere to go unchecked. The harm can be wide-ranging and devastating. Until the law catches up with technology, innocent parties have little or no protection in the volatile world of cyberspace.

Judge Edward Fadeley is a retired associate justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.

Erin Bubenhofer
Danielides Communications
p: (212) 319-7566

Source: Judge Edward Fadeley

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Another Attempt to Muzzle the Critics
Posted by: Brad69 ()
Date: September 07, 2006 01:04AM

The question needs to be asked, so I will ask it: Does Judge Edward Fadeley have any affiliation with Landmark at all?

The way he describes Rick Ross echoes the smearing he speaks of. Ironic, isn't it?

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Another Attempt to Muzzle the Critics
Posted by: nutrino ()
Date: September 07, 2006 01:08AM

BWAHAHAHAHA..... this is just toooo good.... [b:27f7bec026] these morons don't grasp the context of blowback [/b:27f7bec026] .... you should see how much widespread derision this article has generated already... and how much additional attention where I suspect they least want it:

merely one of probably thousands of comments already out there:

from TechDirt

"It's not totally clear what's going on with this story, but it's worth passing along anyway. An article on a tech news site reports how Edward Fadeley, a retired Oregon judge, "has launched a blistering attack on the blogosphere", saying it's full of lies and defamation, with no easy legal recourse to keep things in check. This isn't really true -- libel and other laws regarding defamation apply online, just as they do off. [b:27f7bec026] An apparently misguided person spouting off about the dangers of the internet isn't really anything new, but the sheer lack of context for the outburst is puzzling.[/b:27f7bec026] The rant looks to have first appeared as an op-ed in The Oregonian newspaper in June, but apparently Fadeley felt strong enough about it to issue his own press release repeating it this week. [b:27f7bec026] Whatever the motivation, it would be nice to see a former state Supreme Court justice put a little more effort into creative a coherent argument.[/b:27f7bec026] He says, "Ten years ago Congress passed a law requiring blog operators to protect the public by self-regulation," and it's not clear at all what he's talking about, maybe part of the Communications Decency Act that protects site owners from comments others leave on their sites, which has been affirmed by courts several times -- but we're relatively certain that members of Congress (known for being such a tech-savvy bunch) ten years ago had never heard the word "blog". He also says that bloggers don't deserve the same protections as journalists because they're not held to the same standards, apparently unaware that "real journalists" can make stuff up too, or even make defamatory claims. He closes by saying law needs to catch up to technology, but that simply isn't the case when current laws apply to new media just like they do old media."

which was responded to with:

"Now you guys have a glimpse into the lawmakers in Oregon. [b:27f7bec026] We have been under the influence of these jackasses for going on 40 years now and Ed isn't the worst by a damn sight. [/b:27f7bec026] In Oregon we have a saying about the fools and idiots,We say "whatya expect, he's from Portland" Well, He's from Portland.(A few might get the Fawlty Towers ref.)"

and another site opines:
Silicon Valley Sleuth

"More than half of all the online blog attacks are staged by business rivals, claims retired Oregon Supreme Court judge Edward Fadeley.

Online smear campaigns are certainly a fact of citizen journalism, and there's no doubt that many are orchestrated.

But Fadeley oddly enough refers to Apple's attempts to force Mac enthusiast websites to give up their sources, as part of Apple's campaign to keep new product details from leaking out prematurely.

[b:27f7bec026] The courts in that case have ruled that Apple's doesn't have a right to know the source – and that Apple's obsession with trade secrets doesn't overrule the freedom of press and information. " [/b:27f7bec026]

...... or this thrilling piece of social observation:
Alex Barnett

"If you remember a little while back the "dog shit girl" incident where some teenage girl [b:27f7bec026] let her dog poop all over the floor of the subway train and then turned a blind eye like nothing happened. [/b:27f7bec026] Bloggers, outraged by her insolence, snapped photos of her and her dog and posted them all over the web. In short order, her life became a living hell.

Now, the question remains whether we should be clamping down on bloggers who defame or whether blogging should remain free speech. I vote for the latter."

annnd yet another "listening"..

"Reading through the anti-blog screed by Edward Fadeley in today's Theo, I can't help but wonder if the reason he's a "retired associate justice of the Oregon Supreme Court" rather than an active one [b:27f7bec026] is the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about. " [/b:27f7bec026]

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Another Attempt to Muzzle the Critics
Posted by: ginah ()
Date: September 08, 2006 11:01PM

Free speech and the right to state your mind, is that not what we are "supposed" to be about in America, at least in part? (As well as certain other countries)

Is Edward Fadeley, a retired Oregon judge advocating free speech being censored? I don't know, if I only take what I have read into account (as I do not know this judge), then that is how his "speech" sounds.

Problem? He as well has the "right" to state his mind, he just has more "ears" that listen to him than the rest of us do. That's the problem with newspaper storys, you do not have the ability to have a debate, it is one sided, and many people take what they read as "written in stone" and think no further.

Newspapers are still important though.

Blogs give basic Americans (and people from other countries) the ability to have more of an impact, more "coverage", more thoughts and ideas being shared. If blogs start being censored, then our ideas, thoughts, opinions, feelings are being "shut down" and controlled.

What have we been learning from these sites? Control the information and you have more of an ability to control the people. We have all known that, we are just getting "reeducated" about it.

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