Blogs > Some Slapp, The Power of the Internet
July 9, 2010 Michael Bickerton
You knew it was only a matter of time before the legal business’ reach extended to free speech on the internet. This is a new trend named SLAPP Legislation.
In Michigan, Justin Kurtz had his car towed, apparently in error by T&J Towing. In response, Justin created a Facebook page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing“. Within a few days, there were 800 fans, many posting their own negative experiences on the site.
Now, the legal rub; T&J filed a defamation suit against Kurtz, for get this; $750,000.00. Apparently, this is a legal maneuver known as Slapp (strategic lawsuit against public participation), a way to muscle out the consumer by forcing them to incur legal costs, usually without merit.
In any event, it’s quite a story and something to keep in mind. It will be interesting to see how courts in North America deal with the impending lawsuits. Apparently, there are anti-Slapp laws in many states, so we can see the leaning going forward in favour of the public.
This further shows that you must keep it real, be honest, be clear, be concise and make sure that you relate only your personal experiences. None of us want to end up on the costly side of a lawsuit. Conversely, there continues to be a negative slant to companies attempting to control the public voice. As I’ve noted prior, things are changing, and companies are surely going to have to show their human side, and really be open, honest and ethical in their dealings with consumers.
Slapp legislation or not, companies are facing a very public and open world. Tough lessons are going to be learned. The full story can be found in the New York Times.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, July 2010