By Darren, February 7, 06
Rise up ye baristas, and revolt! Beyond Robson has a photo of this awesome Dear John letter from four Blenz employees to their boss:
It’s not Shakespare, but you’ve got to respect their ballsy solidarity.
Someone oughta send it to Blenz HQ.:)
Any worries about libel, since you’re making public a document/image that may be considered libel? Even if it isn’t your image, I wonder how this would play with lawyers. Not that this guy necessarily plans to sue. But Blenz could, no?
Andrea: Nah, I’m not particularly worried. The first step is almost always to send a cease and desist letter. I’ll cross that bridge should it come to that.
Yeah, I gotcha. If they even do that.
I’m sure a C&D letter would come first, especially since you’re not even hosting the image. I’m not sure if hotlinking law has been tested in Canada yet.
It was an image left out for public display, how could there be an issue of libel? The image simply conveying an implied notion. The note is based upon the perceived opinion of more than one person and constructive in nature. It would be hard to prove these notions as being false so as to be defamatory. I fail to see the libel within.
IANAL by any means, but…
Libel involves publication of defamatory matter. I’m not sure whether Darren would be considered to have published this or not, as Chris noted. I think it would be considered fair comment, since it was within the context of his criticism, but his comments are so short as to constitute mere window dressing. So maybe he has published the letter. If it isn’t permanent publishing, it might be considered transitory form publishing and thus fall under slander. (Even though we typically think of slander as speech.) Nevertheless, all the blog and aggregator references may constitute proof of repetition.
We don’t know if the letter is full of truths. As a result, it may constitute a false broadcast. The letter may not be considered to be in a public place since it is behind a window. The contents of the letter may harm the manager’s reputation by exposure to ridicule or contempt in the minds of average community members. (See Livejournal discussion for examples.)
This may then affect the manager’s personal reputation, social contacts or job.
Several personal qualities, all negative and matters of opinion, are cited in the letter. The defendants would have to prove that this is true, not motivated by hate or dislike of the manager, and a point of view that any reasonable person would have held. By law, the burden of proof is on the defendants (the libellers), not the manager. Canadian precedent holds that freedom of expression is not the only factor — protection of personal reputation is at stake. Defamation is a strict liability tort, so it doesn’t even matter if the letter writers never intended libel.
It also doesn’t matter whether the manager’s name is given — in part or in full. A job description, address, action description, circumstances, etc can lead to identification.
I used to day-manage Blenz Robson, way back when (under a different owner, too.) What amazes me the most is that there were four people that co-ordinated their quitting efforts…
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