Law and Media Round Up – 1 June 2020

1 06 2020

The Trinity Term will begin on Tuesday 2 June 2020 and will end on Friday 31 July 2020. As the Government continues to gradually ease the Covid-19 lockdown, the Courts continue to work remotely, and updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.

On 29 May 2020  the Court of Appeal handed down judgement in Wright v Ver [2020] EWCA Civ 672. Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist and businessman who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamato lost his appeal against a decision by the High Court to strike out his libel claim on jurisdictional grounds.

The Court concluded that not only was England and Wales not “clearly the most appropriate place to bring this action for defamation”, but that based on the evidence available before Nicklin J at first instance, a state in the US which would accept jurisdiction over the claim (which included California) would be the most appropriate jurisdiction. The case is the first occasion that the Court of Appeal has considered section 9 of the Defamation Act 2013 which limits the ability of claimants to sue defendants based overseas. There was a piece on Law360 , Cointelegraph and on the Brett Wilson blog.

On 27 May 2020 Donald Trump, engaged in a “mediatic spat” with Twitter. The social media platform marked some of his posts with its “get the facts” label claiming the posts violated Twitter’s “civic integrity policy” which bars users from “manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes”. Trump subsequently retaliated with various tweets and signed an Executive Order targeting section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which provides that website operators, unlike traditional publishers, cannot generally be held responsible for content posted by users. This executive order argues that this immunity should no longer apply if a social network edits posts, such as by adding a warning or a label. The news received wide international coverage including a piece on The Guardian,  Schillings Insights and the BBC.

Within a couple of days from the incident, Twitter partially censored one of Donald Trump’s tweets in connection with riots in Minneapolis for breaching its rules on ‘glorifying violence’, further escalating the social media company’s row with the US president. The Guardian had a piece.

Internet and Social Media

The BBC had a piece “Facebook dominates cases of recorded social media grooming”.

Twitter Inc, Reddit and a group representing major internet firms  have filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging a Trump Administration’s 2019 rules requiring nearly all U.S. visitors and visa applicants to disclose social media user information from the prior five years. Reuters had a piece.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Compliance Week had a piece on GDPR’s second birthday, looking at GDPR enforcement trends and efforts to standardize regulatory approaches, and how lingering questions about compliance may be answered going forward.

Law.com had a piece “Despite COVID-19, Here Are 4 Easy Steps for Data Privacy, Security Compliance”.

DLA Piper Privacy Matters had a piece “Germany: right of consumer protection associations and competition to initiate civil actions under GDPR will be case for CJEU”.

Surveillance

CNBC had a piece “House Democrats withdraw foreign surveillance bill as Trump veto pledge threatens passage”.

A Chinese city is planning to make a health-tracking app introduced as part of the coronavirus response a permanent fixture for its population of 10 million. There was a new in The Guardian.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette had a piece “Society of Editors writes to Number 10 over ‘concerning’ refusal to answer questions from ‘campaigning newspapers‘”.

IPSO

IPSO has pointed anyone concerned about journalists not following social distancing guidelines outside Dominic Cummings’ home to the police, but backed their right to go out and do their jobs. The Press Gazette had a piece.

There was a post on IPSO’s website “IPSO Blog: How Covid-19 is affecting newsgathering”.

IPSO has published one ruling and resolutions statement since our last Round Up:

01119-20 Dickinson v thenorthernecho.co.uk , 2 Privacy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), No breach- after investigation

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

Scram Media Limited and two of its contributors have apologised and agreed to pay defamation damages to US-based NoFap LLC and its founder Alexander Rhodes after publishing an article on ScramNews.com titled “Academic receives “death threats” from far-right after crowdfunding campaign to sue her.”  There was a press release on the Brett Wilson Media Law blog.

Recent Judgments

On  14 May 2020 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the  case  of Greensill  Capital  v Reuters News and Media [2020] EWHC 1325 (QB).  This was a ruling on meaning, the Judge finding that the words were defamatory and bore a “Chase Level 3” meaning.

On 21 May 2020 Steyn J handed down judgment in the case of CWD v Nevitt  [2020] EWHC 1289 (QB).  This concerned reporting restrictions in a libel and privacy case.

Last Week in the Courts

On 27 May 2020 judgment was handed down on JQL v NTP [2020] EWHC 1349 (QB). Damages for misuse of private information of £15,000 were awarded.  There was a post on the Brett Wilson media law blog.

As already mentioned, judgment in the case of Wright v Ver [2020] EWCA Civ 672 was handed down on Friday 29 May 2020.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

On 26 May 2020 Gibson DCJ gave judgment in the case of Olesen v Nationwide News Pty Limited [2020] NSWDC 241 dismissing challenges by the defendant to the forms of the imputations.

The Guardian had a news piece “Ben Roberts-Smith defamation case delayed as Fairfax lawyers seek to introduce new evidence”.

Canada

On 25 May 2020, default judgment was given in the defamation case of Duncan v. Buckles, 2020 ONSC 3219. The case concerned blog posts arising out of a dispute about a fence. General  damages of $50,000 were awarded along with aggravated damages of $10,000 and punitive damages of $10,000.

Mondaq had a piece” The Road To A “new Normal”: Contact Tracing And Privacy Considerations In Canada”.

Ireland

Ireland’s defamation regime is having a detrimental impact on press freedom and the commercial viability of the press, the Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman have said. The independent press regulators repeated their call for the government to complete a long-promised review of the Defamation Act 2009 in their annual report for 2019. Irish Legal News had a piece.

Nigeria

The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert for Nigerian authorities to drop all charges against journalist Kufre Carter and ensure that the press is not harassed by the country’s security forces.

Scotland

A blogger who sued the former leader of the Scottish Labour Party for defamation for calling him “homophobic” in response to a tweet he had made about a Scottish Conservative Party MSP has had his appeal refused. There was a piece on Scottish Legal News.

United States

Tulsi Gabbard, a U.S. congresswoman from Hawaii, dropped a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, according to a court filing. The complaint filed at a New York federal court in January sought at least $50 million in damages from Clinton for harming the reputation of then Democratic presidential hopeful Gabbard by saying Russians were grooming one of the Democratic presidential candidates for a third-party bid. There was a piece on Reuters.

The Hollywood Reporter had a piece “Netflix Faces Libel Suit for Linking I.C.E. Contractor to Miserable Immigration Detention Facilities”.

Law.com had a piece “Justin Fairfax Swaps Lawyers as Appeal in CBS Defamation Case Moves Forward”.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 3 June 2020 the UK Supreme Court will hand down judgment  in the case of Serafin v Malkiewicz, (heard 17 and 18 March 2020).

On 4 June 2020 there will  be a hearing the  case of Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers.  Mann  J will give  a judgment on various matters which were heard on 21 to 23 May 2020.  He will also determine a number of applications including an application by journalists for orders for access to court documents.

Judgments

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

Warnes v Forge. heard 20 May 2020 (Elisabeth Laing J).

Tinkler v Ferguson & ors, heard 31 March and 1 April 2020 (Nicklin J)

Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence, heard 16 to 19 March 2020 (Warby J)

Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which should be added to this list.

This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone who is a media and entertainment paralegal.

NOTE TO READERS

The Coronavirus lockdown is an ideal time for Inforrm readers to compose all those blog posts they have been thinking about for many months but been too busy to write.  This is an ideal opportunity to keep in touch with the media law world.  We can be contacted at inforrmeditorial@gmail.com

 


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