You may think that with tens of millions of bloggers and millions of forums that we live in an age where there is a free flow of knowledge and information. That you can go to Google and get a balanced and rounded view on any subject by reading the results of a search. And you would be very wrong.
The mechanism for the wholesale denial of free speech is the English libel system. Here are some of the factors at play:
- A plaintiff can sue you for libel and make a whole list of grievances. They don’t have to prove that any of these are the truth. It is up to the defendant to disprove each claim to the standards required by a court. So the whole system is weighed very heavily in favour of the plaintiff.
- Going to court to defend a libel claim is immensely expensive and there is no legal aid. Many cases now get to over a million pounds in legal fees.
- Libel tourism is a reality with plaintiffs now making London their city of choice when they want to take action because the libel laws here are so repressive. This alone should tell you that there is something wrong.
Once you realise the above you can see what the mechanism for suppressing free speech is.
- A company does a Google search to see what is written about it on the internet.
- The company gives a list of all the stuff it doesn’t like (whether it is the truth or not) to an English solicitor.
- The solicitor writes letters to all these websites threatening legal action.
- The solicitor also writes to the website hosting company threatening legal action.
- The owner of the website and/or the owner of the hosting company immediately remove the content, they have no option because of the financial consequences of the threat.
- The internet is censored and no longer tells the truth.
This mechanism works for getting the truth off the internet as well as lies, because it is not tested. The authors and site owners are in no position to defend their content. And once the content is removed it is removed for the whole world. So a heavy handed bully in London will deny free speech in America, Canada, everywhere.
This mechanism is now being used on a massive scale. Solicitors in London are making a very nice living by processing large numbers of these threatening letters. Vast amounts of internet content is being removed. And of course it is the bad guys, the people with something to hide, who use this mechanism most. So the world is denied the knowledge that it most needs for people to protect themselves.
What is deeply ironic is that the blogs and forums that are being acted against have a built in reply mechanism. So when somebody sees something that they think is wrong then they can say so. This happens millions of times every day. These sorts of websites are far closer to a conversation in a pub than they are to the printed newspapers that the libel laws were intended for. So all sides of an argument can be discussed.
And so to Bruceongames. The success of this blog means that it now comes near the top in many Google searches. And I am often saying what I think about companies. (In law this is called fair comment and is allowed). So I have been threatened with libel action now by two companies. Evony and Train2game. Evony are taking the action in Australia because it is almost the same as English law (and there is a reciprocal arrangement for collecting judgement) but I have the added inconvenience of trying to defend myself on the other side of the planet. Train2game seem to have succeeded in removing a lot about themselves from the internet. I have also temporarily removed my article about them, even though it is 100% truthful, whilst I consider the implications. Another successful censoring of the internet.
But remember that the internet is archived. In the short term Google archive many sites, so going to the archived version will reveal what has been removed. Then there is the Waybackmachine, which stores 150 billion internet pages going back to 1996.
The best defence against a vexatious plaintiff is the Streisand effect, a good example of which is in the video above. By taking inappropriate action the plaintiff opens themselves up to far more publicity, scrutiny and ridicule than if they had kept quiet and done nothing. There is even a website devoted to people and companies who have brought this upon themselves.
Finally, never, ever host a website in England. Hosts here have been proven to pull the plug on websites at the first whiff of a solicitor’s letter.