On 19 November 2020, Warby J heard the trial of preliminary issue on meaning in Vardy v Rooney, handing down judgment the following day, 20 November 2020  EWHC 3156 (QB).
It was held that the natural and ordinary meaning of a social media post by the defendant, Coleen Rooney, was that the claimant had had “consistently and repeatedly betrayed the defendant’s trust over several years by leaking the defendant’s private and personal Instagram posts and stories for publication in The Sun”.
The court also heard both parties agreed to a “stay” of the proceedings until February 2021, so there could be “one final attempt to resolve the matter without the need for a full trial”. The trial received national media coverage including
- Rebekah Vardy wins first round in Wagatha Christie court battle but defiant Coleen Rooney won’t back down, The Sun
- Coleen Rooney LOSES first stage of ‘Wagatha Christie’ court battle but says she is ‘keen to see what Rebekah Vardy tells court’ after judge rules her infamous Instagram post ‘clearly’ accused her rival of leaking ‘false stories’, MailOnline
- Rebekah Vardy Wins Initial Victory in Libel Suit Against Instagram Foe Coleen Rooney, Vanity Fair
- Rebekah Vardy wins in first stage of Coleen Rooney libel action, The Guardian
- Rebekah Vardy wins first stage of ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case against Coleen Rooney, Sky News
Jewish News reports that Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-Zionist activist, has been ordered to pay almost £70,000 in court costs, after an unsuccessful libel case over being branded a ‘notorious antisemite’.
The Society of Editors had a piece “Remote access to court hearings likely to take “one step back” confirms Lord Chief Justice”.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
Apple has criticised Facebook for trying to “collect as much data as possible” from users, saying it will push ahead with its planned launch of a new privacy feature despite objections from the advertising industry. There was a piece in the Guardian.
Twitter has launched a new feature worldwide called ‘fleets’: tweets that disappear after 24 hours, similar to the stories feature on Snapchat and Instagram. The Guardian had a news.
Children’s charity the NSPCC has said a drop in Facebook’s removal of harmful content was a “significant failure in corporate responsibility”. Facebook’s own records show its Instagram app removed almost 80% less graphic content about suicide and self-harm between April and June this year than in the previous quarter. Covid restrictions meant most of its content moderators were sent home. The BBC had a piece.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Financial Times had a piece “Apple and Facebook trade accusations over data privacy”.
The Panopticon blog had a post “The Trade Secrets Regulations and Faccenda Class 2 Information”.
Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a piece “ICO Guidance on Subject Access Requests”.
The Local had a piece “Drones and surveillance cameras: France’s new security bill explained”.
The Daily Mail had a piece “Sea-CTV? Conservationists call for video surveillance of fishing vessels as study reveals hundreds of thousands of turtles, seals, dolphins and seabirds accidentally die in nets each year”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Hacked Off had a blog post concerning the Daily Mail and intrusion into grief entitled “How much did they get out of turning my daughter’s death into voyeurism?”.
IPSO had a blog post “ Covid case studies”.
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:
- 29737-20 Imperial College London v The Daily Telegraph, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 27808-20 Ross v Bishop’s Stortford Independent, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
The judgment of Jay J in Napag Trading Ltd & Ors v Gedi Gruppo Editoriale SPA & Anor  EWHC 3034 (QB) is now available on Bailii.
Last Week in the Courts
On 16 November 2020 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon  EWHC 3058 (QB).
On 18 November 2020, Warby J handed down judgment in the case of HRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 3093 (Ch). This is a redacted judgment giving the reasons why the trial was adjourned.
As already mentioned, on 19 November 2020, there was a trial of a preliminary issue on meaning in the case of Vardy v Rooney before Warby J with judgment being handed down on 20 November 2020,  EWHC 3156 (QB).
On the same day Nicol J handed down judgment on the preliminary issue of meaning in the case of Soriano v Societe D’Exploitation De L’Hebdomadaire Le Point. S.A  EWHC 3121 (QB) (heard 10 November 2020). The Times [£] had a piece about the hearing “I’m not a dangerous spook with FSB links, insists consultant Walter Soriano”
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Facebook has apologised to Nationals MP Anne Webster over months-long delays in responding to reports of abuse she received from an online conspiracy theorist that led to an $875,000 defamation payout order. In September, federal court justice Jacqueline Gleeson ordered the payout to Anne Webster MP over Facebook posts in April 2020 by Australian conspiracy theorist Karen Brewer. The posts were shared hundreds of times and falsely accused Webster of being “a member of a secretive paedophile network” who had been “parachuted into parliament to protect a past generation of paedophiles”. The Guardian had a piece.
Norton Rose Fulbright Social Media Bulletin had a post “Bill C-11: Canada proposes new data privacy legislation”.
The Hindu had a piece “YouTuber opposes ₹ 500 crore defamation notice by Akshay Kumar”.
The Independent reports that, at Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Brian O’Callagan, has ordered the Irish arm of retail giant Tesco to pay a west-Clare businesswoman €2,500 in damages after finding that the retailer defamed the woman at a Tesco checkout three years ago.
It is reported that the Windhoek High Court has dismissed a defamation claim against Erongo governor Neville Andre in which he was being sued for alleged racist remarks made in July 2019.
The Telegraph had a piece “Navalny files defamation suit against Kremlin over spying claims”.
Binance has filed a lawsuit in the state of New Jersey against Forbes Media and two of its journalists, alleging that an article published under the title “Leaked ‘Tai Chi’ Document Reveals Binance’s Elaborate Scheme To Evade Bitcoin Regulators” was defamatory. Binance is demanding both compensatory and punitive damages. Cointelegraph had a piece.
The Seattle Times reports that a federal judge has dismissed the last remaining claim in a libel and defamation lawsuit filed against The Seattle Times by Dr. Johnny B. Delashaw Jr., the former head of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute who was a central figure in an investigative series that found aggressive business practices and a toxic work environment at the clinic were jeopardizing patient care.
Research and Resources
- Injunctions to Remove Illegal Online Content under the Ecommerce Directive: Glawischnig-Piesczek, Common Market Law Review, Volume 57, Issue 5 (2020), pp. 1495 – 1526, Clara Rauchegger, University of Innsbruck – Faculty of Law, Aleksandra Kuczerawy, KU Leuven – Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP)
- The Difficulty of Defining Sensitive Data – the Concept of Sensitive Data in the EU Data Protection Framework, Brussels Privacy Hub Research Paper, Paul Quinn, affiliation not provided to SSRN, Gianclaudio Malgieri, EDHEC Business School – Augmented Law Institute; Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – Faculty of Law
- Predictive Policing in China: An Authoritarian Dream of Public Security, Naveiñ Reet: Nordic Journal of Law and Social Research (NNJLSR) No. 9 2019, Daniel Sprick, Chinese Legal Culture, University of Cologne
- Privacy- Preserving Dynamic Personalized Pricing with Demand Learning, Xi Chen, New York University (NYU) – Leonard N. Stern School of Business, David Simchi-Levi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – School of Engineering, Yining Wang, University of Florida – Warrington College of Business Administration
- The ʻRight to be Forgottenʼ beyond the EU: An Analysis of Wider G20 Regulatory Action and Potential Next Steps, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 33/2020, David Erdos, University of Cambridge – Faculty of Law; Trinity Hall.
- Privacy, Remedies and Comity: The Emerging Problem of Global Injunctions and Some Preliminary Thoughts On How Best to Address It, Part V, Chapter 19 in Comparative Privacy and Defamation 307-328 (András Koltay & Paul Wragg eds, Edward Elgar Publishing 2020), U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3723948, Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr., University of Alabama – School of Law.
- The Fiduciary Model of Privacy, Harvard Law Review Forum, Vol. 134, No. 1 (November 2020), Jack M. Balkin, Yale University – Law School.
- The Role of Children’s Rights in Regulating Digital Advertising, International Journal of Children’s Rights, 27 (3), 455-481, 2019, doi: 10.1163/15718182-02703002., Valerie Verdoodt, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); Ghent University – Faculty of Law.
- The Role of Big Data in Antitrust, The Global Antitrust Institute Report on the Digital Economy 7, John M. Yun, George Mason University – Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty.
- Antitrust & Privacy, The Global Antitrust Institute Report on the Digital Economy 32, James C. Cooper, George Mason University – Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty.
- Challenges and Solutions Security in Smart IoT Devices, International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering, Volume 8, Issue 10, October 2020, page number. 4055-4058, anusha chitneni, Independent.
- COVID-19 and Digital Contact Tracing: Regulating the Future of Public Health Surveillance, Cardozo Law Review, Forthcoming, Divya Ramjee, American University (Washington, DC), Pollyanna Sanderson, Future of Privacy Forum, Imran Malek, Boston University – Boston University School of Law; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Next Week in the Courts
On 23 November 2020, Nicol J will hear an application in the case of Wright v McCormack.
The following reserved judgments after public hearing in media law cases are outstanding:
Nwakamma v Umeyor, heard 13 to 16 July 2020 (HHJ Lewis)
Onwude v Dyer, heard 6-8 October 2020 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Wright v Granath, heard 15 October 2020 (Moylan, Singh and Popplewell LJJ)
Sicri v Associated Newspapers, heard 2, 3 and 6 November 2020 (Warby J).
B.C.Strategy UK Ltd v Keshet Broadcasting Ltd & ors heard 17 November 2020 (Saini J).
Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which we should be listing.
This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone who is a media and entertainment paralegal.