Law and Media Round Up – 22 October 2018

22 10 2018

It was reported this week that former Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Sir Nick Clegg is to take over as the head of Facebook’s global affairs and communications team.

The appointment was widely reported in the media, including by the Guardian with the Telegraph headlining an accusation of hypocrisy by a Tory MP. Wired had a piece “Why Facebook hired Nick Clegg”.

In a landmark ruling S.V. v. Italy the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the failure of Italian authorities to accept the application of a transgender women to change her first name on the basis that no judicial ruling was in place to confirm the completion of gender reassignment surgery violated her Article 8 right to a private life. The ECHR Blog has coverage. The finding is likely to have a significant impact on the UK Government’s undergoing consultation into the legal recognition of those who undergo a change in gender and the requirements to be met for the issuing of a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Tom Bennett and Paul Wragg have launched the Media Law Podcast, an aspiring monthly podcast which looks to discuss pertinent issues of media law. This episode is particularly topical given the S.V. case, focusing on the media’s portrayal of minorities.

Manchester Metropolitan University has also established a Media Law Podcast called Bangs to Rights: this is available on SoundcloudApple Podcasts and Stitcher, also on Twitter @RightsBang.

The Legal Entrepreneurs podcast has an interview with Matt Himsworth about the new firm Himsworth Scott.  There is a report on Legal Cheek.

Internet and Social Media

The Cyberleagle Blog has considered the arguments for and against the imposition of a statutory duty of care on social media platforms in a bid to regulate harmful speech.

The IP Kat Blog has analysed the case of Bastei Lübbe, C-149/17, which considered whether the provider of an internet connection could be held liable for any copyright infringement which took place using that connection.

The Social Media Law Bulletin has highlighted the case of SEC v Elon Musk. The case examines a post made by Musk on social media stating he was considering privatising Tesla and the following investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Matthew White has critiqued the Home Office’s plans to develop a Law Enforcement Data Service combining the Police National Computer and Database, in an INFORRM post.

Following a 2016 data breach compromising both customer and driver data Uber has recently settled a number of lawsuits in the United States. The Stanford Cyberlaw Blog has covered the terms of the settlement in detail, including liability stemming from Uber’s failure to report the breach, contrary to California’s data security breach reporting laws.

The Stanford Cyberlaw Blog has covered the matter of online content regulation and the utility of using the Domain Name System in a regulatory framework.

ICO

The ICO has published no new press releases or blogs for the period of 15 October 2018 – 20 October 2018.

Surveillance

Employee protests against the provision of facial recognition software to local police departments by Amazon are escalating, Pogowasright reports.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette reports that latest ABC figures for newspaper circulation and online audience show a substantial decline for MailOnline over the past 12 months (19%) with industry-wide print circulation decline for national newspapers as well, with double-digit falls for a number of titles.

The Press Gazette has commented on the regulation of fake news in light of comments made on the subject by Channel 4’s Public Relation Manager.

The Transparency Project Blog has covered the merits of implementing reporting restrictions in a recent case concerning an injunction awarded to Walsall Metropolitan County Borough Council for an injunction preventing a father from using social media to draw attention to concerns regarding the treatment of his 17 year old daughter.

IPSO

IPSO has published guidance for the reporting of sexual offences, the Press Gazette has coverage.

Rulings

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week.

Last Week in the Courts

As with previous tranches, the trial of the latest tranche of News Group Newspapers phone hacking cases, Various v News Group Newspapers was not effective, the last case having settled the week before.  There was a report of a recent judgment on Byline.

The libel trial in the case of Doyle v Smith was heard by Warby J on 15 to 17 October 2018 and was adjourned part heard.

On 17 October 2017 the Court of Appeal (Underhill V-P, Sharp LJ and Sir Rupert Jackson) heard the appeal in the case of Butt v Secretary of State for the Home Department. Judgment was reserved.

Finally, we note that Mann J has now released an unredacted version of his 2015 judgment in Gulati v MGN [2015] EWHC 2732 (Ch) – the redactions were of the names of various Mirror Group journalists and editors and are marked on this version of the judgment.

Events

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

It is reported that actor Geoffrey Rush is expected to appear in the Federal Court on Monday 22 October 2018 to give evidence in his defamation case against the Daily Telegraph.  The case is listed for 3 weeks.

A decorated soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith, has filed a defamation action against Fairfax Media following the outlet publishing a series of reports critiquing the actions of the Australian special forces during the Afganistan war. Fairfax media intends to defend the claim, the Sydney Morning Herald Reports.

Conrad Bolton, former NSW Mayor, has been successful in his defamation suit against “activist” Stephen Stoltenberg following a series of Facebook posts Stoltenberg made. Stephen Murray considers the outcome in an INFORRM post.

Canada

Michael Geist has analysed whether Canadian Privacy laws apply to Google searches- by extension this has implications for the right to be forgotten. Geist has highlighted that creating an exception to copyright laws permitting informational analysis would serve to promote the development of AI technologies.

China

Escalating sanctions between the United States and China have prompted the Asia Times to analyse the impact the sanctions have had on the Chinese technology market, concluding as to their robustness.

India

The Economic Times has highlighted the new requirements for online payment companies to launch data localisation plans in the jurisdiction.

Scotland

In an INFORRM post Mick Bonyhady conducts review of Scotland’s attempts to reform defamation laws.

United Arab Emirates

Arab News asserts that a “culture of defamation” has developed globally. 

United States

Joe Arpaio, Former Sheriff of Maricopa County, has filed a defamation suit against the New York Times and journalist Michelle Cottle following an article covering his loss to Martha McSally in a primary for U.S. Senate.

Stanford’s Cyberlaw Blog has highlighted the ongoing debate in the United States around net neutrality laws, cantered around amendments proposed by the Federal Communications Commission.

The Cyberlaw Blog has covered the interesting case of Engine Advocacy, recently heard in the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit. The case considers the application of 47 U.S.C. § 230 of the Communications Decency Act which shields intermediary platforms from liability arising from third-party speech.

Viacom’s bid to arbitrate a class action concerning the unlawful collection and sale of children’s data using one of its mobile apps has been denied, Pogowasright reports.

Research and Resources

Internet and Social Media

 Data Protection and Privacy

 Defamation

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation

Next Week in the Courts 

On 21 October 2018 the Court of Appeal ((Master of the Rolls, Bean and Flaux LJJ) will hand down judgment in the case of Various Claimants v W M Morrison Supermarkets, heard 9 to 11 October 2018

On the same day Warby J will hear the final day of the libel trial of Doyle v Smith.

On Tuesday 23 October 2018 the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls, Underhill V-P and Henderson LJ) will hand down judgment in the case of ABC v Telegraph Media Group (heard in private on 25 September 2018).

On 25 or 26 October 2018 there will be a half day application in the case of Sadik v Sadik.

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:

Economou v Freitas, heard 17 and 18 April 2018 (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)

Monir v Wood, heard 16 to 19 April and 3 to 5 July 2018 (Nicklin J)

Kennedy v National Trust for Scotland, heard 25 and 26 July 2018 (Sharp, Asplin LJJ and Sir Rupert Jackson).

Butt v Secretary of State for the Home Department, heard 17 October 2018 (Underhill V-P, Sharp LJ and Sir Rupert Jackson)

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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