Some online-speech defenders are alarmed at the readiness with which a Colorado judge agreed to expose the anonymity of Wikipedia contributors in a defamation case brought by the fashion company Façonnable. [Paul Alan Levy via TechDirt; Citizen Media Law]
A “celebrity attorney” is offering a gig on L.A. Craigslist [Virginia Postrel]
The Wikipedia entry on that topic makes one list of the ten best Wikipedia entries. We covered the Ernie Chambers lawsuit here, here, and here. Law Is Cool points out that the entry for “Lawsuits Against the Devil” deserves a look as well. More: Advocates’ Studio (noting that “no pocket is deeper” than the Almighty’s).
There are numerous scholarly books and law review articles on the history of the Federalist Society. The only book or article the Wikipedia article cites in its references section? “101 People Who Are Really Screwing America,” also cited 9 times in the article. Second is the People for the American Way’s hit piece on the organization, cited five times. Also cited: Daily Kos. Welcome to Wikipedia’s NPOV policy, where the N apparently stands for Nader, rather than neutral.
Glenn Reynolds posts on problems with Wikipedia. The problem is worse than he imagines, because lazy mainstream media are now relying on the site. I won’t embarrass the reporter by name, but he did a story on the ATLA name change; in the course of the story, he quoted fictional statistics invented by the Center for Justice & Democracy as “evidence” of the failure of medical malpractice reform. I dropped him an email pointing out the error, and the response included the following:
“I have found that non-obscure entries in Wikipedia are usually policed carefully to prevent unfounded, unanswered spin.”
At which point, he quoted back to me a Wikipedia entry on the subject that consisted entirely of ATLA talking points and spin that had been refuted numerous times on this site and Point of Law. That Wikipedia is inaccurate on this topic is no surprise: as I’ve noted earlier, a handful of trial lawyer advocates have systematically made thousands of edits to sanitize Wikipedia of just about anything that opposes the official ATLA line or criticizes trial lawyers, even on such minor entries as Jim Shapiro (see OL June 2002) and contingent fee (not to mention more major ones like asbestos, asbestos and the law, and medical malpractice). (And welcome Instapundit readers.)