Sony going after the little guy

Jason Kottke has been one of my daily reads since, well, since I started reading blogs. I discovered him through the original pyra network of Derek, Meg, et al. and he’s provided great commentary on a consistent basis, which is more than I can say for any web log I’ve ever maintained.

Sony’s decided that his commentary on what’s going to happen to Ken Jennings on Jeopardy (which has been on the net since the taping) justified legal action. This kind of attitude is pushing people to decide to not post commentary because of the liability possibilities and lack of legal resources.

Welcome to the litigated net.

From kottke.org:

Things may be a little quieter around here in the short term as I deal with some stuff going on in the real world. One of the reasons for the silence is that my legal difficulties with Sony about the whole Ken Jennings thing have yet to be resolved. I can’t say too much about it (soon perhaps), but it sure has had a chilling effect on my enthusiasm for continuing to maintain kottke.org. As an individual weblogger with relatively limited financial and legal resources, I worry about whether I can continue to post things (legal or not) that may upset large companies and result in lawsuits that they can afford and I cannot. The NY Times can risk upsetting large companies in the course of their journalistic duties because they are a large company themselves, they know their rights, and they have a dedicated legal team to deal with stuff like this. In the current legal climate, it may be that the whole “are blogs journalism?” debate is moot until bloggers have access to a level of legal resources similar to what large companies have. I’m certainly thinking very seriously about whether I can keep this site going in this kind of environment.
  1. Oscar says:

    By 6 December 2004 - 7:51 pmAre you saying that large corgeomenatls such as Sony can tell individuals to hold their tongues about whatever their legal teams deem important? I've never seen anyone receive a cease and desist order for criticizing movies, an action which actually has the potential to cut into profits.Contrary to an unfavorable review, it seems to me Mr. Kottke was promoting viewership. I think people aren't so much rushing to defend Mr. Kottke as they are curious as to what this means to them.Perhaps an outline of corporations' logic in matters like these could shine light on the issue.

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