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Are you really anonymous online?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 55% of bloggers blog under a pseudonym. Obviously plenty of others use pseudonyms when posting comments about the place. Some of the posts by bloggers and commenters¬†breach laws such as defamation, privacy, breach of confidence, harrassment and copyright. In most cases, the relevant ISPs have access […]

Privacy and reputation

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Two interesting developments in the tug-of-war between privacy and defamation. The first comes in a UK injunction case. Justice Tugendhat granted an injunction to a celebrity of some sort (or at least, someone with “some public reputation”) restraining the publication of information about his encounters at his home with a prostitute some ten years ago. […]

Libel games

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

London is known as the libel capital of the world. But I was chatting to Melbourne Law School professor Andrew Kenyon last week, and he said that there is a country whose defamation laws are even more plaintiff-friendly than England’s: Australia. US-based internet game company Ebony [ooops, it’s Evony, as Russell points out in the […]


Monday, October 19th, 2009

Heavy-hitting UK libel law firm Carter-Ruck has been getting some bad press lately. The Guardian reported that Carter-Ruck (famously referred to as “Carter-Fuck” by its nemesis Private Eye) had gagged it from reporting Parliamentary proceedings. What’s more, the gagged material related to a report concerning a toxic waste spill by giant oil company Trafigura. And […]

Clayton’s defence

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Provocation. The defence you use when you’re not really putting on a defence. The end of the Weatherston trial is a relief to Sophie Elliott’s family, the nation… and (for much less serious reasons) to me personally. Over the past few weeks I’ve received a string of calls from reporters wanting me to comment on […]

Nothing but net?

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The NZ government and NZ ISPs are quietly working on a form of internet filtering that starts to look a bit like censorship. Read these fascinating analyses.

Blogger busted

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

A British detective blogging about police issues under the pseudonym “NightJack” has failed in his attempt to stop the Times from revealing his identity. The ruling suggests that anonymous bloggers don’t have a reasonable expectation that their identities will be kept private. Well, those who are breaching police regulations in writing their blog, anyway. But […]

Defaming David?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I’m on RNZ’s Checkpoint and TV3 this evening talking about whether all those comments posted on social networking sites that say “Bain is guilty” (and colourful variations thereon) are defamatory. I’ve also been interviewed for an NZPA story. The answer: of course it’s defamatory to call someone a murderer. Yes, he could sue any number […]

ECHR upholds ongoing defamation liability for internet

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

One of the rules of defamation law is that each separate publication of something that’s defamatory gives rise to separate liability. So each time someone downloads a defamatory article, there’s a fresh publication and a new potential lawsuit. You can see how this might give rise to some headaches for news archives. However, an attempt […]

A post on 92A that David Farrar probably won’t link to

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

You may have noticed that I didn’t join the blackout in protest against section 92A. It’s not that I don’t have concerns about the law. As you can see from the post below, it doesn’t seem to me that it’s been well thought through. I’m open to the idea that it goes too far. But […]

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