P2net went offline…

… but it was nothing to do with the libel lawsuit Sharman Networks (which is the big daddy behind the Kazaa P2P software) and it’s CEO Nikki Hemming launched against it. This time it was only a server problem. But the case could still ultimately mean huge trouble for any Canadian site which publishes anonymous, or otherwise, comments.

p2pnet.net went online in August, 2002. It was one of the first Internet web pages to carry daily, frequently updated news stories, features and commentaries discussing developments in the p2p and digital media arenas. p2pnet’s focus is on digital media, distributed computing and file sharing, but the ultimate goal has always been to help launch a non-profit, collaborative and censor-free international news service through which on- and offline community print and electronic media outlets can access and exchange news which hasn’t been spun, filtered and pre-digested by vested corporate interests.

In a strange new turn of events in the Kazaa saga, Sharman Networks and its CEO, Nikki Hemming, have filed a defamation suit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against P2Pnet operator, Jon Newton, his ISP, and four as-of-yet-unnamed users of the site. Apparently, Hemming and Co. are feeling insulted over a few of the articles and postings. A detailed article can be found at TheRegisters article: “Kazaa’s P2P libel suit threatens to mute Canadians” where you get more background about the whole story.

I understand that publishing anonymously might be problematic. In one way an anonymous post can act the same as a confidential source. But what about lies? On the other hand we know we’re all in WWW where everybody is able to post stories, which might be not very close to reality. Nobody really believes a story which can’t be doublechecked or proved with other sites (by the way: THIS means Web 2.0!). And perhaps “free speech” means as well the right to do not listen…

Read more about the downtime, or the Blogsuit.

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