There were two interesting statements in open court in media law cases this week. First, on 12 June 2018 there was a statement [pdf] in the case of Wass QC v Associated Newspapers before Nicklin J. The Mail on Sunday apologised for publishing allegations that prosecuting counsel had “buried evidence” that police officers had been taking bribes.
The claim was brought following a successful IPSO complaint – which did not result an apology or the removal of the article. Details are set out in Carter Ruck’s press release. There were reports of the statement in the Law Society Gazette, the Press Gazette and on the 5RB website.
On 14 June 2018 there was a statement in open court in the case of Douglas v News Group Newspapers before HHJ Parkes QC. The case concerned a claim for damages by the estate of a Susanne HInte after the Sun published revenge porn images of her. The claimant’s solicitors put out a press release on the case entitled ‘Hypocritical’ Sun held to account for ‘Lotto Gran’ revenge porn. There was a report in the Guardian.
The Supreme Court has handed down a decision in the Cartier case finding that internet service providers (“ISP’s”) do not have to bear the costs of implementing a blocking injunction pursuant to section 37(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, the statue requires ISP’s to block access to sites which sell goods that infringe upon trade mark rights. IPKat comments here. There was a news item about the decision on the 5RB website.
The Reuters Institute has published its Digital News Report 2018. This considers date from nearly 40 countries. It notes that the use of social media for news has started to fall in a number of key markets but an increase in the use of messaging apps for news. The average level of trust in news across all countries is 44% (UK 42%). The report was discussed in the Guardian, Journalism.co.uk and in the Press Gazette.
AT&T has acquired Time Warner for $85 billion following the approval of Judge Richard Leon this Tuesday. There has been coverage plentiful from the BBC, New York Times [£] and Wall Street Journal [£]. AT&T’s press release can be found here.
The LSE Media Policy Project Blog considers whether the media and communications industries are institutionally racist.
The Scottish Information Commissioner has found that the Scottish Government takes longer to response to Freedom of Information Requests from journalists.
The Transparency Project Blog has considered the implementation of the English Courts modernisation.
Internet and Social Media
The European Court of Justice has found that the operator of a Facebook fanpage is jointly responsible for ensuring the protection of users’ data.
The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications’ call for evidence in its consulation on “The Internet: To Regulate or Not to Regulate” has promoted a response from the ILPC, which addresses four key issues: the protection of human rights, the protection of freedom of expression, the use of deceased’s data and the role of the UK as a leader in global internet regulation.
Facebook has responded in writing to Congress’ questions arising out of Mark Zuckberg’s testimony. It has submitted a 225-page report [pdf] and a 229-page report [pdf] to two different committees. It appears that these reports add little new information.
The Economic Times has noted how changing attitudes to social media are reflected in users sharing utility-oriented information such as products, entertainment or contacts.
Privacy and Data Protection
The Financial Times has considered the potential impact of the impending ePrivacy Regulation. [£]
Privacy International has published a substantive post exploring mechanisms which provide protection from hacking and provides specific commentary on current and potential regulatory frameworks. The Group also highlights mechanisms which can be established to protection “digital beneficiaries”– data concerning individuals which is beyond their control.
Yahoo has been fined £250,000 following the finding that it failed to adequately protect customer data.
The ICO has responded to Dixon Carphones announcement of a data protection breach.
The ICO has published a statement in response to the publication of the Royal Free audit report.
Privacy International has analysed the issue of government hacking for surveillance purposes, including publishing a podcast exploring the issue.
Journlaw has published a chapter in the new text “In the Name of Security- Secrecy, Surveillance and Journalism”, which considers the impact of surveillance on public interest journalism.
Stanford’s Cyberlaw blog has noted Apple’s attempts to increase the security of their iPhones by integrating a USB Restricted Mode feature. The New York Times has noted that this comes following the tech giants concerns over the government seeking to unlock the phone of the San Bernadino gunman in 2016.
Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette reports on the National newspaper ABCs. The industry-wide circulation decline continues with the Metro and Sun topping the circulation table
IPSO has published a single resolution statement and series of rulings from the Complaints Committee:
- Resolution Statement 03044-18 Smith v Brentwood Gazette, resolved via IPSO mediation.
- 20315 -17 Hawthorn v The Belfast Telegraph, 20095-17 Hawthorn v Irish News, 20099-17 Hawthorn v The Impartial Reporter, 00209-18 Hawthorn v The Sunday Times, no breach of provisions 1 (Accuracy) and 2 (privacy) after investigation.
- 01570-18 Ward v The Sunday Telegraph, no breach of provision 1 (Accuracy) after investigation.
- 20797-17 A woman v thesun.co.uk, no breach of provisions 2 (Privacy), 1 Accuracy, 11 Victims of sexual assault and 3 Harassment after investigation.
Statement in Open Court and Apologies
We have already mentioned the statements in open court in the case of Wass QC v Associated Newspapers (12 June 2018) and in Douglas v News Group Newspapers 14 June 2018).
Last Week in the Courts
On 12 June 2018 HHJ Parkes QC heard an application in the case of Sabados v Facebook Ireland. He granted a Norwich Pharmacal order where Facebook had acceded to a request from an unknown person to delete the profile of a deceased person to enable the deceased’s partner to discover who had made that request.
On 15 June 2018 the Court of Appeal (Gross, Macfarlane and Coulson LJJ) handed down judgment in the case of TLU v Home Office  EWCA Civ 2217. The defendant’s appeal was dismissed.
On the same day HHJ Parkes QC concluded the hearing of an application in the case of Otuo v Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Judgment was reserved.
- Conference on Islamophobia and racialization, UVSQ 19-20 June 2018
- Protecting the Freedom to Encrypt 28 June 2018, 10:30-12:00, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, HVC-200, 1st Street NE, Washington, DC
- Information Law and Policy Centre’s Annual Conference on 23 November 2018 at IALS, London
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Bauer Media v Wilson (No.2) ( VSCA 154) the Victoria Court of Appeal reduced Rebel Wilson’s damages award in her defamation case from AUS$4.6 to AUS$600,000. The Guardian, Sky News, Telegraph and ITV News have coverage.
In the case of Trkulja v Google LLC  HCA 25 the High Court allowed the plaintiff’s appeal, holding that his libel claim against Google can be allowed to continue. There was a report in the Guardian and on the Financial Review website.
Chinese Australian billionaire Chau Chak Wing has filed a defamation action against Fairfax Media following allegations by the outlet that he may have been involved in UN bribery.
The Sydney Morning Herald has further considered the results of the statutory review of the Defamation Act 2005.
The Wagner family’s lawsuit against broadcaster Alan Jones concluded on Wednesday- coverage of the final day of submission can be found in the Guardian.
Mondaq has a case comment by Amy Nathanson entitled Lawful Criticism Or Defamation – It’s All About Context on the case of Northwest Organics v Roest
The Canadian Advertising Law Blog has considered the Competition Bureau’s recent publication of the fourth volume of the Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest.
Given the Canadian Governments review of copyright law Michael Geist analyses the Canadian Heritage Committee’s Hearing on these matters, in particular that of Music Canada’s contribution.
The Irish News reports that a teacher has secured a court apology from a pupil’s parents in a libel action over defamatory comments on Facebook. The Belfast Telegraph suggests that this could “open the floodgates”.
The Herald has a report on the defamation trial in a claim brought by SNP MSP Richard Lyle against his office worker Sheena McCulloch.
Summer Zervos’ defamation claim against President Trump will continue following the latest attempt to stall the claim failing. An appeal to the first instance Courts’ decision not to permit a stay of the case has failed prompting coverage from the New York Post, Washington Post and CNBC.
Stanford’s Cyberlaw Blog has analysed the impact of recent changes to America’s net neutrality laws.
Research and Resources
Data Privacy and Data Protection
- Cybersecurity for Infrastructure: A Critical Analysis, Eldar Haber, University of Haifa – Faculty of Law and Tal Zarsky, University of Haifa – Faculty of Law
- Personal Data v. Big Data in the EU: Control Lost, Discrimination Found, Maria Canellopoulou-Bottis, Ionian University and George Bouchagiar, Ionian University (Department of Archive/Library Sciences and Museology, School of Informatics and Information Science)
- Certification of Data Protection Officers Should Be Regulated, Eric Lachaud, Tilburg University
- Data Pollution, Omri Ben-Shahar, University of Chicago Law School
- Global Convergence of Data Privacy Standards and Laws: Speaking Notes for the European Commission Events on the Launch of the General DataProtection Regulation (GDPR) in Brussels & New Delhi, 25 May 2018, Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law
- Twibel Retweeted: Twitter Libel and the Single Publication Rule, Adeline A. Allen, Trinity Law School
Internet and Social Media
- Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger and Money [pdf], Daphne Keller, Hoover Institution, Aegis Series Paper No.1807.
- Liability and Exemptions of Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Assessing the EU Electronic Commerce Legal Regime, Adebola Adeyemi, School of Law, University of Manchester; Swansea University College of Law
- ‘A Few Armed Drones, Judiciously Stationed, Might at a Small Expense Be Made Useful Sentinels of the Law:’ the Sufficiency of Existing Law as Applied to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Inevitable Use of Unmanned Aircraft Capable of Employing Airborne Use of Force in the Maritime Counter-Drug Mission, Michael Sinclair, Independent
Next Week in the Courts
The trial in the case of Seventy Thirty Ltd v Burki will begin before HHJ Parkes QC at 2pm on 18 June 2018. It is listed for 4 days. This is a claim for libel and malicious falsehood in respect of reviews of the claimant’s business. The Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£].
The appeal in Stunt v Associated Newspapers will begin on 19 or 20 June 2018. It is listed for 2 days. The ICO has intervened in the appeal. We had a post about the first instance decision.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Sir Cliff Richard v BBC, heard 12 to 13, 16 to 20, 23-26 April and 8 and 9 May 2018 (Mann J)
Economou v Freitas, heard 17 and 18 April 2018 (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)
Lloyd v Google LLC, heard 21 to 23 May 2018 (Warby J)
Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers Ltd, heard 24 May 2018 (Newey and Coulson LJJ).
Bokhova v Times Newspapers, heard 8 June 2018 (Nicklin J)
Otuo v Watch Tower and Bible and Tract Society, heard 7 and 15 June 2018 (HHJ Parkes QC)
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law.