25 January 2008

A dozen or so questions and a sign-off for a Friday

What does even the threat of a libel suit do to a writer?

What does it do to other writers in the community?

What are the invisible effects of a libel threat in a community?

How many important, or even worthwhile, or even entertaining things go unwritten because of libel chill?

What are the implications of a libel threat to the literature of a community, or to the free exchange of commentary?

How many facts disappear because a libel suit is threatened?

What happens when the scope of subject matter for a writer becomes narrowed because of fear of bankruptcy, even in the face of a frivolous threat?

What does it mean when a writer must think three times about publishing even the most tepid commentary, such as this one? When a writer wonders if s/he should pay a lawyer to look at a seemingly innocent paragraph before it goes to print?

What are the implications for those threatening the libel suit? What if they themselves are writers?

What happens when other writers in the community believe it's got nothing to do with them, just because they aren't the recipients of the threat from the lawyer?

When a lawyer is brought into a dispute, what happens to the options for communication?

Into whose pocket goes the rare and precious royalty cheque, the reading fee, the PLR payment, the grant?

What are the different implications of a serious threat and a spurious threat?

Over and out.


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