On libel

Dick and Damien note a press release from McCann Fitzgerald concerning libel and blogs. Could someone publish more of the press release? It does seem rather interesting.

What strikes me is going after the ISP.

How do, say Esat BT, remove my blog from their service? Do they block it? Could someone just not get around it, Google Cache for example? How does going after the ISP stop me from hosting my stuff in California? Do they terminate my contract so that I can’t upload to my host? Do they go after my host in California, do I then move to another host…in Russia?

It strikes me that this may be, as Dick notes, some confusion on the part of the law firm. Back in the good old days, lots of people used one of their free Telecom Eireann or Indigo websites, which amounted to hosting provided by the ISP as a free bonus attached to their dial-up account. It was typical of ISP’s to act not just as Internet Service Providers but as hosters of content also. This has practically disappeared, to my knowledge.

She did note:

Often a better option is to force the host or internet service provider to take action.

Then forgot that in many cases hosting and ISP’s are two completely different things. It doesn’t seem to mention hosting after that. I think it was here they then got confused between the two terms.

Things changed and now we all host our stuff all over the world.

How will legal action work now?

3 Responses to “On libel”

  1. The new legislation will probably result in providers merely pulling blogs when they receive complaints and then having the author work out the issues. If this happens, it will place a premium on those providers who two-finger claims of defamation. Moving the threshold for content control to the provider is a cop-out.

  2. Simon McGarr says:

    Given their current client base, McCann Fitzgerald are more likely to be acting for the plaintiff in any libel action against bloggers than the defendant.

    Highlighting the ease of possible success such plaintiffs might encounter if they were minded to act would reflect their client’s wishes and outlook.

    An interview with Ms. Harty on the same topic, from the same outlook, is available from RTE’s Morning Ireland: http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/228-2131790.smil

  3. Simon McGarr says:

    An article by TJ McIntyre on the issues of importance to online publishers in the upcoming Defamation Bill is up on the Digital Rights Ireland site now.