“All of this is a lengthy preamble to something I’ve been thinking about these past weeks: a legal defence fund for people who are vulnerable to being blown over by Kinsellan huffing and puffing. The National Post and Maclean’s don’t need help, but most bloggers do. My observation is that bloggers make defamation law errors very frequently — not that they engage in real defamation often, but that they overreact to the first whiff of gunpowder, and cower before any schmuck with a lawyer’s letter, because they do not know their defences under defamation law, and even if they did, they feel they can’t afford to exercise them.”
“I would imagine that such a defence fund would be financed partly through the pro bono contributions of defamation lawyers like myself, and partly through dues paid by bloggers into a fund — say, a dollar a month. I imagine it would be a non-profit corporation, overseen by a board scrutinizing revenues and expenses. There would have to be clear rules of when to take an engagement — a written ‘insurance policy’, including rules to avoid the moral hazard that insurance creates.”
Some have you have very thoughtfully sent unsolicited donations to my as yet non-existent legal defence fund. I love you guys!
My suggestion would be to, ahem, buy my book instead because at least then you get more for your money than just a thank-you email from me.
For those who’ve asked: since Kinsella advised me and others to “retain counsel”, I have yet (as of 8:07AM EST today) to be served.
A generous individual has made a kind offer should this situation change. Three lawyers have assured me that the chance of this going further than Warren’s trademark internet bluster is slim to none.
We’ll just have to see.
However, I’m going to continue my single-post “tradition” of adding a naughty picture to posts about me having to “retain counsel”. Just to keep our spirits up: