Law and Media Round Up – 18 June 2018

18 06 2018

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 Hoot has analysed how the use of social media for news reporting is falling following a recent Reuters report.

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.

ICO

Yahoo has been fined £250,000 following the finding that it failed to adequately protect customer data.

Gloucester Police has been fined £80,000 after a bulk email was sent to the victims of non-recent child abuse.

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.

Surveillance                                  

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

Rulings              

IPSO has published a single resolution statement and series of rulings from the Complaints Committee:

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 [2018] 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.

Events

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Bauer Media v Wilson (No.2) ([2018] 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 [2018] 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.

Canada

In the case of Acumen Law v Nguyen 2018 BCSC 961, Murray J assessed damages for defamation on a default judgment in the sum of $1.  There was a report of the judgment in the Vancouver Sun.

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.

Northern Ireland

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”.

Scotland

The Herald has a report on the defamation trial in a claim brought by SNP MSP Richard Lyle against his office worker Sheena McCulloch.

United States

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.

Colorado and Louisiana have amended its data breach notification laws, moves which have been considered by the Hunton Privacy Blog.

Vietnam

Vietnam’s Parliament has approved a new cybersecurity law which the Hunton Privacy Law Blog has noted, as has the Washington Post. 

Research and Resources

Data Privacy and Data Protection

 Defamation

 Internet and Social Media

 Surveillance

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.

Judgments

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.


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