Following on from my last post on the subject of blogging and liability Euroferries are made of green jam and the very good comments that have been added I have taken a deeper look at the state of British law.
Saying our laws on the subject of libel are out of date and dangerous is an understatement. They have been publicly recognised as out of date and in dire need of reform for the last ten years or more.
Back in 2002 ISPs and libel laws were under review with the opinion that the law needs to change. seven years later and things remain as ever they have done.
The problem appears to be that back in May 1998 physicist Laurence Godfrey used a fraudulent e-mail post that contained obscene and defamatory material about him to sue Demon Internet U.K. for libel. Demon for some reason simply settle out of court and set a president that disfavours all ISPs.
The BBC reported recently that Index on Censorship have said that
the strict laws are used by wealthy foreign individuals to "bully people who try to hold them to account". Not a good sign for our brave bloggers trying to hold our local councillors and businesses to account.
The BBC goes on to quote John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship, saying
There are US States who view English libel law as so damaging to free speech they have passed laws to effectively block the decisions of English judges.
Making some internet comments exempt as part of efforts to reflect the arrival of the world wide web. Something we have seen the need of first hand.
No wonder ECR blogs without his real name.