Nov 262012
 
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Dan makes a massively important point today when he underlines the following:

If journalists, editors and owners wish to speak with entire freedom then let them speak as human individuals, without the protection of the corporate form. They will stand full square behind what they say and will assume all the risks that necessarily accompany this freedom. The state will have no special interest in regulating them. But those who wish to contribute to the creation of corporate speech, and so enjoy the protections of limited liability, can raise no principled objection to the statutory regulation of their activities.

Essentially, you cannot enjoy the freedom and right to limit your liability without the corresponding duty to be inspected and regulated in everything you do.

Conversely, of course, this leads us to the following observation: ordinary people – the unlimited liability sort I mean: the sort who could currently lose absolutely everything out of a desire to actively participate in democratic discourse – should perhaps not be so much at the mercy of the same rigid and statutory overviews as described above, in relation to what they say and exchange in virtual-conversation environments such as those which latterday social-media networks create and sustain.

With such an understanding, you cannot seriously argue that the publication of corporately-created speech has the same legal quality – certainly the same moral position – as that which an unlimited liability person generates.

My argument in a nutshell?  If you want limited liability, be absolutely sure about what you say.  If you don’t demand such a freedom and right, as well as the opportunity to make a serious living out of your communications, your corresponding duty to be as precise as possible should be correspondingly reduced.

Legally as well as morally, let it be understood.

So anyone with the legal nous care to comment on such a potential future state of affairs?


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