Libel Threat Brings Down Blogs in UK

Robin Hamman noted yesterday that a number of UK bloggers had their blogs taken down by their ISP following threats of legal action by Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov. According to Hamman:

The bloggers, who were unlikely to have previously heard of or mentioned Mr. Usmanov, were unwittingly caught up in a dispute between Mr. Usmanov and blogger Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. . . . In response, Hundreds of UK bloggers have now rallied round and added buttons showing their support for free speech rights.

Hamman followed up with an interview on the BBC discussing the controversy and the need for legal protection for hosting providers. Unlike the United States, where section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides immunity to hosting providers -- and other interactive computer services -- for tort claims arising from content provided by third-parties, UK law holds the hosting provider responsible for the statements of users. As a result, you get takedowns like this.


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