Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Busy Bee! And Alisher Usmanov...

I read a very interesting story on Slate this morning ("Civil Disobedience on the Web") and immediately thought I'd blog on the subject. I pulled up my blog in my trusty Firefox browser and realized I haven't posted since September 26. Gulp.

Definitely a violation of some sort of blogger apologies to all. I've been working on three, count 'em, three, events that'll I'll tell you all about in the coming week or two, as well as working on a number of interesting new deals. On top of all that, I'm working on website redesign and editing video footage of our last event with the SIIA. Busy bee!

So anyway...due to the rather vicious and broad nature of the libel law in the UK, it's very easy for the well connected and rich to sue, and win, libel cases against the press. This state of affairs has started to experience some changes as bloggers have started to challenge some of London's less than savory billionaire immigrants, including one Alisher Usmanov, a bad, bad man from Uzbekistan.

The next case is more telling for the breadth of its reach and the greater uproar it entrained. It involves Uzbek-Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, No. 142 on Forbes' list of the world's richest people, who has acquired a stake in British soccer team Arsenal. Usmanov is one shady character: In the 1980s he was jailed for a variety of crimes, including fraud, but he was granted a full pardon—and reclassified as a Soviet political prisoner—upon Mikhail Gorbachev's assumption of the premiership.

Some bloggers wrote some not so nice things about Mr. Usmanov, who promtly sued...the ISP's that hosted the bloggers. Apparently, in the UK, hosting providers can be held liable for the speech of the people who use their service, as in the USA. These ISP's promptly caved and shut off the offending blogs. Uproar insued.

Read the whole article here:

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