By Jon Newton 7/13/06
Two months after receiving a summons telling me I was being sued for alleged libel by Kazaa owner Sharman Networks and Kazaa ceo Nikki Hemming, I've at last received the detailed notice of claims.
Filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, it includes two intriguing new documents.
One, from Sharman, reads:
TAKE NOTICE that the Plaintiff, Sharman Networks Limited, wholly discontinues this proceeding against the Defendants John Newton, Interserver Inc., John Doe, Jane Doe, Richard Roe and Jane Roe.
The other, from Hemming, states:
TAKE NOTICE that the Plaintiff, Nikki Hemming, wholly discontinues this proceeding against the Defendants John Doe, Jane Doe, and Jane Roe.
Why has Sharman suddenly abandoned its claims against me and p2pnet, leaving Hemming by herself?
At this point, we don't know, but we'll find out when she tries to justify them to a Canadian jury of my peers at some date yet to be decided.
For now, I have to admit that as very ordinary father and husband with a very ordinary income, I'd definitely rather not be in this situation. But in it I am, and I'm here until it get resolved, whatever it takes.
My wife, Liz, and my daughter, Emma, almost 10, have told me they're behind me and corny as it may seem, I honest-to-God believe this case points up the dangers ancient laws, which automatically assume guilt, present to Freedom of Expression in Canada.
They have no place here.
Hemming and Sharman say I defamed them in an article outlining Australian court proceedings into Hemming's assets. They also demanded the identity of a p2pnet reader who posted an anonymous comment which I included in the same story.
Israeli lawyer Itai Lesham has since come forward, but be that as it may, as I say in Stop-the-Blogsuit, "as far as I'm concerned, an anonymous post is the same as a confidential source. I don't have to like a post, or even agree with it. But I believe that as an honest and responsible human being, I do have to safeguard the poster, if indeed I know who he or she is which in this case, I don't.
"If Sharman wins it'll make life a potential hell for bloggers in Canada, at the least. And you can bet the case will be used as a reference for similar actions around the world."
People come here, "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.
The laws must be brought into the 21st century and winning this case will go a long way towards achieving that.
Cheers! And thanks for all the good wishes and support ...
Other MP3 stories:
More iPod Killers for Summer 2006
DRM is Like Paying for Ice
The Creative Zen Vision M is available on Amazon