Defamation and Satire – Steven Price

30 04 2013

Colin CraigMemo to anyone thinking of suing or threatening someone else for defamation after that person made fun of them. Don’t.

It’s not that the law clearly protects humorous speech and satire. That question is a bit vexed. It’s defamatory to say something that brings another person into ridicule. So it looks like that is fairly easily satisfied. Actually, those looks are deceptive. Read the rest of this entry »





Freedom of expression loses in Swaziland case – Dario Milo

30 04 2013

bheki-makhubu-smallLast week, the Swaziland High Court handed down a decision with grave implications for freedom of expression. The Nation magazine, an independent publisher, and its editor Bheki Makhubu were found guilty of the crime of contempt of court, fined 400,000 emalangeni (about £28,000), and ordered to pay half of the fine within three days of the decision or be imprisoned for two years.  Read the rest of this entry »





Law and Media Round Up – 29 April 2013

29 04 2013

Round Up 2013The biggest news of the week is that the Defamation Bill received Royal Assent and is now the Defamation Act 2013, three years after the publication of Lord Lester’s original Defamation Bill. Inforrm reported the news and context here; a commentary by Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, can be found here. Robert Sharp, also of English PEN, has dissected some of the detail here and here. A report in Belfast Telegraph reports that Index on Censorship is questioning Stormont’s decision to block the Act from becoming law in Northern Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »





Media Reform Coalition: This press barons’ charter is neither independent nor fair

29 04 2013

media-reform-banner-slide1 (1)On 25 April 2013 the rulers of Fleet Street  thumbed their nose at four months of negotiations, campaigns and public protests to propose a Royal Charter which suits their aims. This press barons’ charter not only replicates but actually worsens the problems they tried to get away with in February. It allows substantial influence by politicians and serious interference from the press in the appointment and recognition of the new regulator and neuters its powers to handle complaints. Read the rest of this entry »





Libel News: Care companies bring action against Rochdale Council Leader

29 04 2013

Rochdale MBCTwo care companies have issued libel proceedings against Rochdale Council and its Labour leader Colin Lambert after he said that the borough was the “wrong place” to put vulnerable youngsters in private care and that their safety was not being “guaranteed”.  The remarks were made last year after nine men were convicted for the illegal grooming of under age girls for sex in Rochdale. Read the rest of this entry »





Does copyright control browsing? Meltwater in the UK Supreme Court – Graham Smith

28 04 2013

nla1Back in July 2011 I commented on the Court of Appeal judgment in Newspaper Licensing Agency v Meltwater ([2011] EWCA Civ 890) and explained how the reach of digital copyright had accidentally been increased beyond that in the offline world.  That was as a result of accepting that transient and temporary copies created in computer memory count as copies for copyright purposes.  Read the rest of this entry »





Case law, Northern Ireland, HL (a minor) v Facebook, How can the courts manage the Facebook phenomenon? – Rosalind English

28 04 2013

Facebook logo reflected in eyeHL (A Minor) v Facebook Incorporated, The Northern Health and Social Care Trust, The Department of Justice for Northern Ireland and others  [2013] NIQB 25.  In this somewhat chaotic action, the plaintiff sued ten defendants, in anonymised form by her father and next friend.   Read the rest of this entry »





Three corporations clinging to the PCC wreckage – Brian Cathcart

27 04 2013

800px-Géricault_-_La_zattera_della_MedusaAnd then there were three. Far from being the work of ‘the newspaper industry’, the latest attempt to prevent effective, independent press regulation on Leveson lines is being led by just three organisations. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law: ZAM v CFW, Court awards anonymity for victim of libellous “paedophile” allegations – Rosalind English

27 04 2013

How-to-Remove-Online-Defamation-Review-Using-Legal-Action-2The permanent damage that internet publications can inflict is very much the focus of Tugendhat J’s assessment of damages in the case of ZAM v CFW & Anor [2013] EWHC 662 (QB), encapsulated in the memorable description he quoted in an earlier judgment: “what is to be found on the internet may become like a tattoo“. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Defamation Act 2013 receives Royal Assent

26 04 2013

Defamation Act 2013On 25 April 2013, nearly three years after the introduction of Lord Lester’s Defamation Bill [pdf], the Defamation Act 2013 received Royal Assent. The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 10 May 2012 and completed its final stage, House of Commons “Ping Pong” on 24 April 2013.  It will come into force on “such day as the Secretary of State may appoint”. Read the rest of this entry »