Archive for April, 2010

The Price of Pedantry

April 8th, 2010

A quick post to flag up this story from The Register reporting on Kaschke v Gray & Anor [2010] EWHC 690 (QB).

Essentially, this is an appeal against  a summary judgement which found that Alex Hilton of the Labour Home Blog could be considered a publisher in this claim for libel.  His editorial responsibility for the blog may amount to a sufficient level of control for him to be considered liable for Mr Gray’s post alleging that Ms. Kaschke was a member of a terrorist organisation.  The appeal was dismissed.  The broad point seems to be that any editorial changes (in this case even correcting spelling errors) on some posts will show that there is editorial control over all posts that appear on that site.

A couple of observations – if you are contemplating a libel action regarding online material, could you please employ a barrister?  There are some real points of law that need to be clarified in this area, and they keep getting lost in procedural issues because claimants seem determined to represent themselves.  Second, if you are a defendant and you lose your application for summary judgement, could you please grow a pair and proceed to trial rather than wimping out at the idea you may end up paying substantial damages?  Yes, the damages in Godfrey v Demon Internet were quite large, but they may have been anomaly and we’ll never know unless these cases proceed to trial.

I have a spare couch you can stay on if things don’t work out.

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