Techdirt’s Fight

Mike Masnick of Techdirt makes an official response to a nasty lawsuit filed by Shiva Ayyadurai:

There is a larger point here. Defamation claims like this can force independent media companies to capitulate and shut down due to mounting legal costs. Ayyadurai’s attorney, Charles Harder, has already shown that this model can lead to exactly that result. His efforts helped put a much larger and much more well-resourced company than Techdirt completely out of business.

So, in our view, this is not a fight about who invented email. This is a fight about whether or not our legal system will silence independent publications for publishing opinions that public figures do not like.

As I wrote when Gawker filed for bankruptcy, the ability for the wealthy to use the legal system to bleed publications dry is deeply concerning. If the only media organizations that can survive this precedent are those that either only publish anodyne stories, or those that can afford a regular battering from billionaires, then public figures and governments will not be held to account for their actions. Smaller, independent publications — like ProPublica, Mother Jones, and Techdirt — are at least as vital as more well-known entities. I can think of little worse than accelerating the conglomeration of media companies through the bullying of independents.

If you can, throw a couple of bucks at Techdirt. They’re going to need it.