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Zeke's Gallery headed to court

Posted by Jade / May 18, 2007

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Zeke’s Gallery is being dragged to court over a blog post. Mr. Pierre-Antoine Tremblay, an art agent accused of fraud, claims that this post put up by the gallery’s blog is libelous. Not only does Mr. Tremblay want the website shut down immediately, he also demands of Zeke’s $25,000 in damages (check out a copy of the injunction at Zeke's Gallery, 3955 St. Laurent).

A cease-and-desist letter sent out April 10th led Chris Hand, owner of Zeke’s Gallery, to believe that the use of a vague personal pronoun was at the heart of the controversy. He clarified the blog post, but then was hit with a second cease-and-desist just one week later. The injunction comes apparently in response to Zeke’s refusal to take the blog post down all together.

Are blogs like newspapers? Should they be held accountable for the veracity of their content—or, as in this case, responsible for checking the veracity of all the content that they link to? Or should personal blogs be considered, well, just that: personal.

The author’s biases and connections are obvious. Shouldn’t any judicious reader be able to tease out that personal blogs just don’t have the same level of impartiality and thorough fact-checking as a newspaper? Or do readers sincerely believe that nytimes.com and a blogspot blog are equally accurate? Or do lawyers really think that readers are just that undiscerning?

Just a thought.

Discussion

11 Comments

scott / May 20, 2007 at 12:29 pm
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jade, these are exactly the questions that the blogsphere is really facing (whether it knows it or not). the rulings thus far seem to be saying that blogs face the same level of scrutiny as major media, and that libelous content will be viewed as such (not suggesting this is the case with Zeke's blog). however, these rules do not seem to be aimed at forum and listserv posts, nor commentary in podcasts, and i don't know of any legal action being taken against newsletters. i think blogs are getting the scrutiny they are due to the rapid deployment they offer, and how ubiquitous they've become.
jade / May 21, 2007 at 01:08 pm
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in the past blogs haven't been sued too much, because, well, there hasn't been any money to sue them for.

anyway--i was talking to a friend about this more, and they pointed out that this event <a href="http://news.com.com/Abortion+hit+list+slammed+in+court/2100-1023_3-221054.html";>concerning the anti-abortion hitlist</a> was a case where it was good that public info on the internet was brought to trial--that clearly it WAS being damaging and dangerous.
Will Brady / May 24, 2007 at 08:12 pm
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I was harassed by a lawyer claiming that an e-mail constituted a "cease and desist" order/ I had made some passing comment about a white racist skinhead group based in Mississippi USA. He did something more damaging in that he contacted my ISP who DID shut me down immediately. Thankfully a n observant tech support guy at my ISP contacted me by phone and we got it straigtened out.
My "compromise" was to delete the entry about the racist group, but not until after I contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about it. The ACLU noted, with some irony that the racist group had twice sought their assistance to protect them from censorship and was now aggresively attemption to censor me.

You might want to ask for assistance from its counterpart, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association [ http://www.ccla.org/ ]. They might not be able to take your case, but they may nevertheless be interested in its ramifications. Good Luck
heri / June 11, 2007 at 08:34 pm
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i think the freedom of expression is at stake here. everyone knows that blogs are for personal opinions - and Zeke's gallery is just that - opinions and personal reviews of the art world in montreal.


this is ridiculous
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