United Kingdom

French Court: Claim of First Amendment Rights in Search Results Inconsistent with "Neutral and Passive Role" as Host

On November 6, the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) ordered Google and Google France to withdraw and stop displaying in their search engine results, for a period of five years, nine pictures of British citizen Max Mosley. By doing so, the TGI refused to consider Google as a mere Internet intermediary that provides hosting and/or caching functions.

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Metadata Surveillance, Secrecy, and Political Liberty (Part Two)

(This is the second part of a two-part post. In Part One, Bryce Newell examined the implications of government collection and analysis of metadata relating to electronic communications. Today, Bryce picks up from where he left off, considering the implications of government surveillance under different conceptions of freedom.)

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Metadata Surveillance, Secrecy, and Political Liberty (Part One)

(Following on from Rebekah Bradway's post last week regarding government-created metadata as public records, we are pleased to present a two-part post from Bryce Newell on the role of metadata in government surveillance. -- Ed.)

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British Ruling Sets Standards for Twitter Libel

A British judge's decision that a tweet by Sally Bercow (wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow) libeled Lord Robert Alistair McAlpine (former Deputy Chairman and Party Treasurer of the Co

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Britain's New Libel Bill: Better on Libel Tourism, But Worse on Anonymous Online Speech

Britain's effort to reform its defamation laws and shed London's title of "libel capital of the world" has been chugging along for several years, but now it looks like it's in sight of the last stop: The government unveiled its proposed new defamation bill in early May.  So what has all this time and effort wrought?

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Will the Fifth Time be the Charm for Britain's IP Policy Reviews?

The All-Party Intellectual Property Group (APIP) in the United Kingdom recently announced that it is taking on an arduous task: “conduct[ing] an inquiry into the role of government in protecting and promoting intellectual property.”

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Banned in (Much of) Britain, and Beyond?

Social media are abuzz about English Premier League footballer ("soccer player" to us Yanks) Ryan Giggs, who has obtained an order from a British court requiring Twitter to reveal the identity of various tweeters who identified him as having had an affair with model and Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas.

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British Libel Reform - Now With Real Proposed Legislation!

I've been writing about impending British libel reform for almost two years now, putting a post together every time something happens to bring the United Kingdom closer to fixing its quite-literally-backwards defamation laws.  "Ooo, the High Court has tossed a textbook libel tourism case," I cheered in November 2009.  "Aah, the justice minister has publicly endorsed libel reform," I

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U.K. Extends Consumer Disclosure Laws Online, As In U.S.

The Office of Fair Trading, the British equivalent of the United States Federal Trade Commission, has determined that the hiring of bloggers and other social media contributors to promote particular products without adequate disclosure of the relationship may violate U.K. consumer protection laws. Handpicked Media Ltd (Handpicked Media), Case Ref. CRE-E-25932 (OFT Dec. 13, 2010).

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Science Journalist Simon Singh Drops Guardian Column to Fight Libel Suit Full-Time

Science journalist Simon Singh announced on Friday that he is giving up his Guardian column to devote his time and energy to fighting the British Chiropractic Association's libel lawsuit against him and to campaigning for libel reform in the United Kingdom. 

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Each Man an Island? Record Industry Denies that Three Strikes Ban Will Be Collective Punishment

No man is an island, no man stands alone
Each man's joy is joy to me
Each man's grief is my own
We need one another, so I will defend
Each man as my brother
Each man as my friend

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United States v. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, USA, Inc.

Date: 

05/20/2004

Threat Type: 

Criminal Charge

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, USA, Inc., Kevin Kjonas, Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Joshua Harper, Andrew Stapanian, Darius Fullmer

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey; United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Case Number: 

04-cr-00373 (trial); 06-4447 (appeal)

Legal Counsel: 

H. Louis Sirkin, Michael A. Armstrong (for Lauren Gazzola); David L. Rhoads (trial), Eric Schneider (trial), Isabel McGinty (trial), Robert G. Stahl (trial and appeal), Laura K. Gasiorowski (appeal) (for Kevin Kjonaas); James Murphy, Peter Goldberger

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Website

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Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Convicted

Description: 

On March 2, 2006, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and six of its members were convicted of terrorism and Internet stalking under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The group was charged with engaging in various forms of harassment and intimidation of people associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences in an attempt to shut down the company's animal testing activities.

During the trial, the government did not present evidence that the individual defendants directly participated in any acts of vandalism and violence. Instead, the prosecution pointed to web postings by, and video of, the members celebrating the acts and using the word "we" to claim credit for the conduct.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the conviction on October 14, 2009, finding that the Animal Enterprise Protection Act was constitutional on its face and as applied to the defendants. In particular, the court found that links on the SHAC website to tools that facilitated (illegal) virtual sit-ins were clearly intended to incite imminent, lawless conduct, and that such conduct was likely to occur, and thus were not protected speech.

It is not clear whether the defendant's have petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari.

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1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Under review, HF 11/4/2009

SB 11/20/09 -- to do, somebody should check for cert and mark concluded if there was no petition.  Can just check westlaw in a month or so. 

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Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc. v. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, USA Inc.

Date: 

06/03/2003

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, USA, Inc.; Animal Liberation Front; David Agranoff; Kevin Kjonaas; Does 1 through 100

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of the State of California, San Diego County; California Court of Appeal, Fourth District

Case Number: 

GIC812248 (trial court); No. D042950 (appeal)

Legal Counsel: 

Christine L. Garcia - Animal Rights Law Office

Publication Medium: 

Website

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Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)
Injunction Issued

Description: 

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and one of its employees filed a lawsuit in California state court against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, USA (SHAC), the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), and animal rights activists associated with both groups.  The plaintiffs sought an injunction against protest activities at the HLS employee's home, and against posting information about demonstrations and identifying information about HLS employees on SHAC's website.

The Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting SHAC from placing or maintaining on any website any information regarding any HLS employee or business associate, among other things.

SHAC moved to strike the complaint pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute, Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16. The trial court denied the motion because the issuance of a preliminary injunction indicated a likelihood of success on the claims.

On appeal, the California Court of Appeal reversed the Superior Court ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion and ordered it to dismiss a number of the claims, leaving others intact.

In addition, the appellate court ordered that the preliminary injunction be more narrowly tailored. According to the appellate court, the injunction improperly required removal of all references to HLS employees, including those in newspaper articles republished on the SHAC website. The court further explained that, while SHAC could be enjoined from publishing the names, addresses, other identifying information of HLS employees, or reports of illegal activity, SHAC must be allowed to publish legitimate news items about HLS and its employees.

It is not clear what happened after the case returned to the trial court.

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1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Under review HCF (10/19/2009)

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National Portrait Gallery v. Coetzee

Date: 

07/11/2009

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Derrick Coetzee

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Legal Counsel: 

Fred von Lohmann - Electronic Frontier Foundation

Publication Medium: 

Wiki

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Counsel for the National Portrait Gallery in London sent a cease-and-desist letter to a U.S. citizen in July 2009, complaining about his posting of images of thousands of its portraits on Wikimedia Commons, a site associated with Wikipedia. The gallery claims Derrick Coetzee violated U.K. law by breaching the museum's copyright in the photographs of artworks. In its letter, the gallery demanded that Coetzee remove the images from the site and delete any other copies of the images in his possession.  The deputy director of Wikimedia Foundation stated in a blog post that the site stands by Coetzee's uploads and that Coetzee did not violate any applicable law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann is representing Coetzee pro bono.  von Lohmann sent a response letter on July 19, disputing the National Portrait Gallery's claims.

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1-High

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CMF - 7/29/09

British Court Clears Google of 'Defamatory' Search Results, But It Still Sucks to be a Web Host in Britain

As nearly every American lawyer knows, London is the libel capital of the world.  There are a bunch of reasons why, of course: defendants have the burden of proving the truth of their statements; neither negligence nor actual malice is required for liability; there's no distinction between public and private figures; etc.  But regardless of the reasons, Great Britain is the place to sue for defamation.  Heck, it's so b

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Fight at the Museum: London's National Portrait Gallery Takes Aim at U.S. Wikipedia User

The National Portrait Gallery in London has threatened to take legal action against a U.S. citizen who posted images of the gallery's paintings of rich, white, and dead British people onto Wikimedia Commons.

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