Every blogger out there should understand that when one of us is threatened with a lawsuit, we’re all threatened. That’s not a cutesy cliche- it’s a serious point to keep in mind whenever we begin to forget that there are many members of the old guard- institutions such as government agencies and media outlets- with enough resources and fear to make life very difficult for individual bloggers or journalists.
I’m raising all this because I’m sorry to report that Lance Dutson, the blogger who is following an ongoing saga of incompetence and alleged harrasement by the Maine State Office of Tourism and some of its contractors (dubbed ‘Pay-per-Gate’), announced today that he’s been threatened with a lawsuit by Warren Kremer Paino, the advertising firm retained by the state’s Tourism Office.
The threat of a lawsuit is, allegedly, not the first tactic employed by the subjects of Lance’s ongoing reporting. He has previously written on his blog about attempts by various parties to contact his clients (he’s a web developer by trade) and even his wife’s employers in apparent attempts to disrupt his business.
If those accuastions of harrasment prove true- and let’s be clear, as they’re being described, they’re bordering on illegal, particularly for agents of a state government- then they make the appearance of a threatening letter from a law firm appear all the more ominious- not to mention devious.
Although he’s receiving some initial support from the Committee to Protect Bloggers, he deserves as much of our support as possible as he faces off against a corporation that appears ready to sue in order to silence him.
I strongly encourage any blogger reading this to promote this story in any way possible- link to it, share it, pass it on- so that in rallying around Lance, we make it that much harder for another independent publisher, blogger or otherwise, to be threatened not only with his blog, but with his livelihood.