Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Changes to UK libel laws affecting the internet
From The Guardian 12.6.12:
'Major reforms of the libel laws will see a duty placed on internet service providers to try to identify internet trolls without victims needing to resort to costly legal action.
Websites will also be given greater protection from being sued if they help to identify those posting defamatory messages, under government plans.'
Read the rest here. http://?www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jun/12/internet-trolls-bill-defamation-online
There are also plans to reduce the time limit on bringing libel actions. Currently every time a story is accessed or downloaded on the net, this counts as a new publication. In effect there is thus no time limit on bringing an action. There is a proposal to limit the time that a libel action can be brought against a publication to one year.
Without seeing the detail these proposals appear to be sensible and to bring the libel laws more in line with current reality. It will, however, be important that there is a distinction made between malicious trolls and courageous and truthful whistleblowers. Easy to say but in reality a distinction difficult to make in law. Naturally wrongdoers being exposed may well claim that this is the action of a 'malicious troll'.
More on this story in The Press Gazette.