Yesterday Evony dropped its libel case against blogger Bruce Everiss that was in its second day in an Australian court. They now have 12 days to pay costs of A$114,000 or risk having the case resume. This has been a very important case for bloggers for a few reasons. Evony was accused of libel tourism, which means that they more or less shopped around the court systems of the world in order to find one in which they thought they had the most chance of winning. Evony is a Chinese company, which registered as a company in Delware USA after they initiated court proceedings against Everiss, a blogger living in the UK who had never been to Australia. You have probably seen Evony’s advertisements around the net, the ones that feature half naked buxon women telling you to “Save me my lord”. If you are not familiar with this game or the company itself, here is Bruces blog. He has done a fine job of digging this all up.
So here we have a gaming blogger being taken to court and sued by a game company, although a most obviously shady one at that. To be taken to court is one thing, to be taken to court in a foreign country whose court has no connection with either the plaintiff or the defendant is somewhat troubling. Needless to say, Bruce won. But it has obviously been a tough 8 months, with a lot of financial and psychological pressure. It is an interesting period for law. With the rise of the internet and the ease of communication all around the world, court systems are being faced with the unusual situation of these types of libel tourism. It will take some time for precedents to be set before the situation clarifies itself, and in the meantime we as bloggers could find ourselves in the firing line for something which we blog about.
I will continue to blog in my own irreverent way, as I am sure that most of you will also do. But it is important to know that these things are happening, and in case you find yourself in the same situation you have some sort of reference to go on. Here are some very interesting links that are worth reading. It may well be worth your time.