Morning Toolbox – October 11, 2012 – Legal Threats and Fair Use

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

Seems to be one of those days for news of legal action affecting skeptic bloggers. First, a South African company named Solal is suing blogger Kevin Charleston for R350,000 ($40,000 US) over an article in which he reveals that “Health Intelligence Magazine” is a thinly disguised piece of marketing material for the company.  And that’s not the only lawsuit today, read on…

In another legal action breaking today Zenyth Pharmaceuticals, makers of a quack colon cleansing product called ColonHelp, have threatened a Romanian blogger who criticized it. They are suing WordPress where his blog (and this blog) are hosted for €100,000 ($129,000 US). This is always something to think about when setting up a skeptic website – will your hosting company back you up on free speech issues?

Coincidentally this is happening at the same time that UK skeptic bloggers are in a public battle with the publisher of a magazine called “What Doctors Don’t Tell You” and the new libel reform bill just got a reading in Parliament.  Something in the air?

In non-libel legal news, last Friday I reported publishers had settled their case against Google Books, now comes another victory with a judge ruling against the Authors Guild saying a mass book digitization programs can clearly be considered Fair Use.

Here’s an interesting story of how social media was used to counteract Dutch anti-vaccine campaigners. It turned out all the nonsense was flowing from just eight people online, and science-loving non-experts were able to counteract it.

And just Tuesday I wrote about how UK bloggers can now use Adsense to earn money. As of October 31, UK skeptics will be able to use Kickstarter to crowdfund projects as well. Lots of great new funding options for projects in the UK.

Speaking of UK funding, if you’d like to help the libel reform campaign could use some cash for lobbying as the bill is at a key stage now. Please consider donating.

At this rate, I may have to rename “Morning Toolbox” to “Morning Legal Brief”.

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4 thoughts on “Morning Toolbox – October 11, 2012 – Legal Threats and Fair Use

  1. insulaindoielii

    Hi Tim. Thank you for getting this out there, you are one of my skeptical heroes.
    The initial threat was 100.000 euro. It was a baseless claim and i mocked heavily. Nothing happened over it.

    Now they are suing WordPress just to take the blog down.
    They are also looking for WordPress to pay court expenses, however i doubt this will work.

  2. Pingback: Yet another quack company litigates against its critics | Josephine Jones

  3. Pingback: Colon quacks sue WordPress | Josephine Jones

  4. Pingback: Quack-Firma greift ins Klo: Klage gegen Wordpress @ gwup | die skeptiker

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