News, Culture, Controversy on the Internet

$64 and a Chill

The Wild West atmospherics of free speech on the Internet may subside a bit after an electronic defamation suit was settled this week. In March, Brock N. Meeks, whose nose-thumbing CyberWire Dispatch is read by thousands, posted a newsletter calling direct-mail cyber-entrepreneur Benjamin Suarez a "scam" artist. The Ohio-based Suarez Corp. fired back with the first high-profile libel suit in electronic journalism's short history. Before long, Meeks had shelled out more than $25,000 in legal fees. Suarez finally decided the strapped journalist was "uncollectible." So his firm made Meeks an offer: pay $64 in court costs and...

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