INDIAN ART NEWS PUBLISHING DISPUTE
The art world in India is being rocked by accusations of libel and defamation and a blog platform in California is being drawn into the battle.
Copal Art, a consultancy in India which provides modern art sourcing services, is threatening California-based service provider Ning with legal action if it fails to close down the publication of blog news site Indian Art News on its platform.
In a letter dated September 4 2009, Indian solicitors S. Jalan and Company served Ning with a Notice of Defamation in which it is claimed that founder Deepak I Shahdadpuri uses Indian Art News to ‘continuously promote scandalous and unfounded and unconfirmed articles against our Client with the malicious intention to defame our Client’.
The letter alleges that ‘it is incumbent (on Ning) as a vicarious liability to check …the unfounded articles’ and calls upon Ning to block Indian Art News from access to its services. Indian Art News denies all allegations.
Indian Art News was founded in 2005 and has more than 600 email subscribers.
Art Radar Asia is intrigued by the questions raised: Where is the crossover point between art criticism and defamation? And in this new era of virtual publishing, is an internet service provider also a publisher? Does a blog platform share liability if a news site it hosts is libellous? On what grounds can a third party require a platform to close down a site which it hosts? Do the grounds alter in different geographical jurisdictions?
Indian Art News is one of the sites which provided the initial inspiration for Art Radar Asia. We hope that all three parties are able to resolve differences as soon as possible and with minimal damage.