To hold a roundtable discussion on the problems with Canada's defamation & libel laws preventing online freedom of speech, threatening bloggers with frivolous, hard-to-defend lawsuits. Invite media to raise awareness. Short presentations from speakers followed by a Q&A discussion.
Jon Newton, from Vancouver Island, BC, the founder and editor of p2pnet.net , is being sued by Nikki Hemming, ceo of the infamous Australian Kazaa p2p application. p2pnet was initially also being sued by Kazaa owner Sharman Networks.
The precedent-setting case, the first of its kind, vividly illustrates the danger of applying ancient laws to Freedom of Expression in the digital age.
Sharman and Hemming claimed they'd been libelled in p2pnet posts. But Sharman recently abandoned its case, leaving Hemming to carry the allegation that Newton defamed her in an article outlining Australian court proceedings into her assets, by herself. She also continues to demand the identity of a p2pnet reader who'd posted an anonymous comment included in the same story.
"Our Canadian libel laws say 'Guilty until proven innocent' and if Hemming wins, Canadian bloggers might as well pack up and close their Net accounts because the right of online freedom of speech will be killed stone dead," says Newton.
"And there's something else: as far as I'm concerned, an anonymous post is the same as a confidential source. I don't have to like a post, or even agree with it. But I believe that as an honest and responsible human being, I do have to safeguard the poster, if indeed I know who he or she is which in this case, I didn't."
To help Newton with his legal fees, Toronto based singer/songwriter Neil Leyton has written a song about the situation, and has organized a fundraiser for August 5th at the Rivoli, with fellow Fading Ways Music label-mates Aceface, as well as friends Lindy, Kobotown and Dennis O'Toole.
The Rivoli doors open at 9 PM, and the cover is $10.
Leyton's song, as well as other music donated by the participating artists, will also be on sale at the concert.
By way of a pre-concert information session / press conference, a special Online Freedom of Expression round table is also taking place at Toronto's Centre for Social Innovation, 215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 120, Toronto, from 3 - 5PM. The round table will feature the following panelists:
Moderator: Rob Hyndman - http://www.robhyndman.com/
Jon Newton - http://p2pnet.net/story/9333
Jon will have statements from:
* Phillipa Lawson of CIPPIC
* Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa
* BC media lawyer Dan Burnett who's representing Jon in his upcoming libel case with Kazaa boss Nikki Hemming
* Jason Munning of Ten Mile Tide, the former Kazaa poster band which dropped its association with Sharman Networks and put its albums online for free to protest the libel action. http://www.p2pnet.net/story/9023
Jason Young of Deeth Williams Wall - http://www.dww.com/bios/jmy.htm
Michael Pilling of OpenPolitics.ca: http://www.openpolitics.ca/tiki-index.php
Russell McOrmond of Digital Copyright Canada: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/
For additional information contact Neil Leyton at [email protected]
, or Tina Siegel at [email protected]
Official Website: http://p2pnetroundtable.pbwiki.com/