When it added Public Citizen’s defense of Julia Forte’s 800Notes.com to the Citizen Media Law Project database the Project took note of a bizarre motion filed by Vision Media, asking the court to prohibit any public discussion about its lawsuit, including blogging. The motion is an apparent response to my email to Vision Media’s counsel inviting them respond on this blog to my comments about their lawsuit.
Apparently not recognizing that Forte’s motion for summary judgment is a public document available to the general public on PACER for $.08 per page (or on RECAP for free), Vision Media objects to Public Citizen’s having posted the motion on our own web site. According to Vision Media, criticism of its having filed a frivolous lawsuit threatens the reputation of Hugh Downs, with whom Vision Media claims a relationship. Apparently, Vision Media uses his name in the course of its telephone sales pitch to non-profits, and believes that trotting out his name in a court filing will make its request for a prior restraint seductive.
Curiously, neither our papers, nor my previous blog post, said anything about Downs, the former host of 20/20. One wonders how Downs would feel if he knew about Vision Media’s hiding behind his name as an excuse for censorship, too.
Vision Media's motion falsely claims that Forte herself has criticized Vision Media on her message board, when in fact all of the criticisms there are made by anonymous posters.
We have responded to Vision Media’s motion, explaining that a prior restraint is not justified by concerns about the business impact of being criticized. We will again invite Vision Media’s counsel to respond.