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There can be only one…

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Britain is¬† toying with abolishing the so-called “multiple publication rule” for defamation, and switching to a US-style “single publication rule”. Under the multiple publication rule, every different publication (ie newspaper copy sold, internet post downloaded, etc) is a separate publication and can be sued upon. This is particularly a problem for online archives, which effectively […]

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 […]

Friday, November 20th, 2009

This is an interesting outfit that looks to use (mostly non-lawyer-based) methods to search out client’s online reputations and help them beat back any “inaccurate, inappropriate, hurtful and slanderous information”. Dunno if they’re any good, but evidently Dr Phil thinks they are.

A prickly issue

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Cactus Kate is up in arms about some editorial guidelines she says APN management have been circulating to reporters, including those at the NZ Herald. Her most alarming claim by far is that: The thrust is all to do with NO budget allocated for legal action or defence so the editors have basically been told […]

Dueling and defamation

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Before defamation lawsuits, there was dueling. Apparently, in 17th and 18th Century Europe it was regarded as a civilised way of protecting one’s honour, “since the alternatives were sneak attacks and brawls” writes Daniel Solove in his book The Future of Reputation. Still, thousands of people were killed in them. What I hadn’t realised was […]

Warning for defamation defendants

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

The job of the defendant in a defamation jury trial (often the media) is to convince the jury that ordinary reasonable people will not think less of the plaintiff after being exposed to the material alleged to be defamatory. You might think it will probably be enough to convince the jurors themselves, who no doubt […]

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 […]

Just as long as you’re not “impugning Parliament”…

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Another part of Justice Dobson’s decision in Leigh (discussed below) revolves around the court’s anxiousness not to involve the courts in any impugning of Parliament. He rules that Ms Leigh can’t use Trevor Mallard’s attack on her in Parliament during Question Time to support her case. There is good authority for this rule. One is […]

Are too

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Remember Erin Leigh? She was working on contract on a climate change communications strategy for the Ministry for the Environment when Clare Curren, another communications adviser, was appointed to oversee her work. Ms Leigh left. A political shitstorm blew up the following year. Was Ms Curren’s appointment politically motivated? Was it really about ideological disagreements […]

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