Beloved tech law and policy blog Techdirt is in the midst of a dirty legal fight. Shiva Ayyadurai, a man who claims he invented email, served the site with a $15 million defamation lawsuit over articles written that rebut Ayyadurai’s assertions. Instead of backing down, Techdirt is using this as a way to highlight the unknown future of free speech.
This suit, writes Techdirt, “seems specifically designed to either shut down the company or to silence reporting on matters of public interest.” It’s a tactic that was used to shut Gawker down–a rich person doesn’t like critical coverage and decides to sue a journalistic organization into oblivion. Now Techdirt is launching a new “free speech” tab that would feature newly focused pieces on the subject right as it’s being attacked.
This tab is a new project partnership with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Others have contributed to it too, including Automattic, Craig Newmark’s CraigConnects, and Union Square Ventures, as well as the Charles Koch Foundation.
So far, this new free speech project has raised over $250,000. Axios described the funders as “eclectic,” and with Charles Koch on the roster, that descriptor is right on. Techdirt adds that it “maintains full editorial control over all content.” You can read the full announcement here.CGW