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Gavin Sheridan posted two days ago on being threatened with legal action by author John Gray. This threat came about because of comments that Gavin made in this post which basically referenced this other post on a different weblog, give or take a few words (a few words which, btw, seem to be at the crux of the matter). Now, I saw this early today over at Karlin's weblog and was going to comment on it, but over the topic was already "in play". Dan Gillmor has commented on it. Kevin Drum has comments. Dave has comments. And on and on and on it goes.

The posts in question are from November last year. In terms of the web, they were long gone. It's difficult to see them resurfacing in any meaningful way.

Except, of course, if you did exactly what John Gray's attorneys have done.

First, it seems that the threat could potentially be in murky waters legally (It appears that it's not an open and shut case, both in what relates to the statements, how they were made, and even matters of jurisdiction).

But that's not the end of it. One would assume that Gavin's post was found through a web search, and that this threat of legal action was intended to remove those references from search engines and such (after all, if something can't be found or read by anyone, where's the problem?). However, I will bet that within a couple of weeks both Google and Yahoo! (along with other search engines) will return posts and pages related to this story when searching for "John Gray" or any number of keywords (who knows maybe this entry will show up even), whereas currently that doesn't happen at all. So instead of "solving the problem" (assuming there was a problem in the first place) this action has had the effect of multiplying it by several orders of magnitude. It is even possible that this is picked up by the media somewhere. And you can imagine the headlines, right?

So why would someone do something like this? Mystery. After all, we've already seen what can happen when us weblog-folk get, um, "agitated"... :)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on March 19, 2004 at 7:37 PM

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