Suing people to shut them up doesn’t work in the age of the internet. Faster than you can say libel things will get mirrored and reprinted and will get more exposure by attempting to censor it than would have if you ignored it.
Now, that doesn’t mean libel doesn’t exist or have a place in our laws today, although I’m no expert in libel law, so I’ll leave it at that.
So we have Dr. Andrew Weaver, climate scientist from University of Victoria, who is suing the National Post and everything they have touched (up to and including the entire internet) for libel in a number of articles they published about him.
Well that’s fine to me. If you publish lies about someone, you can be held responsible. I’m more a responsible speech advocate than an all out free-for-all shouting match (which the National Post would win over you or me). When I mostly figure out my position on this I’ll get around to writing it up.
But what rubs me wrong, and is likely doomed to fail, is Dr. Weaver’s attempt to have the lawsuit extend to force the National Post to track down and remove the offending articles from not just its print and web editions but from any “other site where they have been re-posted.”
Dr. Weaver, you are providing fuel to the denialists who claim scientists like you are out to suppress them. While I may support your suit against the Post, I see the all out attack on the internet as fool-hearted and unintentionally malicious if it succeeds (based purely on the precedent it could set for any future libel suits).