Thursday, April 24, 2008

Army of Lawyers: Chey Hears from Someone Who Likes Camping

R.V.'s Camping Sign, About Which She Seems Simultaneously Proud and Ashamed
This Illustration was One of Two that Accompanied
My Editorial on Camping in SL Entrepreneur

Written 24 April, 2008

Army of Lawyers:

Chey Hears From Someone Who Likes Camping

As soon as I logged on yesterday afternoon, I heard from someone I'll call R.V.

Her first IM directed me to her newly-begun blog. Her second was a threat. She said if I didn’t retract my words or take down pictures of her camping she would consider taking RL legal action against me for defamation of her character and her business. My article implied, she said, that she used bots and gave nothing to the community. I had 24 hours to respond or make changes.

I asked, in all innocence, which article she meant, and she pointed me to my SL Entrepreneur editorial on camping. I took a look (hadn’t seen it since I submitted it) and saw one of the illustrations chosen by the publisher showed a camping sign on Ms. V’s land.

I told her it was hard to see how I had defamed her since I had mentioned no one by name in the editorial and had no control over the illustrations. I suggested that she contact the publisher, but she was too angry to hear me.

I said, “Earth to R. I didn’t mention you in my text and I didn’t choose the images for the illustration. I don’t publish the magazine. I merely wrote an editorial.”

She told me my name was on the article and so it would be me who would be subjected to the wrath of her army of bloodthirsty lawyers.

I said there was nothing libelous in my editorial and I stood by what I had written.

She started on a harangue about how unprofessionally one-sided it was. I suggested she look up the word editorial—and, while she was at it, libel.

And I suggested she and her lawyers perform an act that is generally considered anatomically impossible.

And then I muted her.

You know, there’s a wonderful defense against libel. Just don’t libel anyone. Say what’s true, or what you believe to be true, and you’ll get into no trouble.

And if you don’t mention a person or her business at all, that’s a pretty good defense, too.

I’m anxiously waiting to hear from Ms. V’s army of lawyers.


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