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Interesting legal action
A footballer protected by one of the British "superinjunctions" is
suing Twitter and persons unknown after he was alleged on Twitter to
have had an affair. Something that could have repercussions for
Wikipedia.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/twitter-sued-by-footballer-over-privacy

Sarah

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> A footballer protected by one of the British "superinjunctions" is
> suing Twitter and persons unknown after he was alleged on Twitter to
> have had an affair. Something that could have repercussions for
> Wikipedia.
>
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/twitter-sued-by-footballer-over-privacy
>
> Sarah

Oversighters have been diligently suppressing this stuff. Hopefully none
of our money will be wasted on this. Obviously superinjunctions are
totally over the top and not sustainable, but it is not our job to
straighten out the High Court.

Fred


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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 12:09, Sarah <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:

> A footballer protected by one of the British "superinjunctions" is
> suing Twitter and persons unknown after he was alleged on Twitter to
> have had an affair. Something that could have repercussions for
> Wikipedia.
>
>
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/twitter-sued-by-footballer-over-privacy
>
>
Speaking as someone who's been in the middle of this exact issue from the
Wikipedia perspective, edits similar to the one described to have been made
on Twitter were removed multiple times from our own site over an extended
period: not because of the injunction, but because it was contentious and
negative information that could not be reliably sourced. Our BLP policy has
worked.

Risker/Anne
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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
>
> > A footballer protected by one of the British "superinjunctions" is
> > suing Twitter and persons unknown after he was alleged on Twitter to
> > have had an affair. Something that could have repercussions for
> > Wikipedia.
> >
> >
> >
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/twitter-sued-by-footballer-over-privacy
> >
> >
> Speaking as someone who's been in the middle of this exact issue from the
> Wikipedia perspective, edits similar to the one described to have been made
> on Twitter were removed multiple times from our own site over an extended
> period: not because of the injunction, but because it was contentious and
> negative information that could not be reliably sourced. Our BLP policy
> has
> worked.
>
>
It won't be too long before a reputable news source covers the whole issue -
or indeed a British Parliamentarian raises it under parliamentary privilege.

Then, of course, the material will be in the article even if there is still
an outstanding superinjunction



> Risker/Anne
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 17:37, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki@gmail.com> wrote:
> It won't be too long before a reputable news source covers the whole issue -
> or indeed a British Parliamentarian raises it under parliamentary privilege.
>
> Then, of course, the material will be in the article even if there is still

Note that the review into injunctions published today says that
parliamentary privilege may not be enough to protect the media (let
alone "non-media" like mere websites). I foresee this coming to a head
in the next few weeks or months, but hopefully without WMF or WMUK
being sued - as Fred says, we'd rather not waste our money (even when
US law is clear) on defending against such actions.

J.
--
James D. Forrester
jdforrester@wikimedia.org | jdforrester@gmail.com
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> On 20 May 2011 17:37, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki@gmail.com> wrote:
>> It won't be too long before a reputable news source covers the whole issue -
>> or indeed a British Parliamentarian raises it under parliamentary privilege.
>
I'm thinking it will be interesting to see how Twitter's position is
handled, namely that it's not a publisher. This is the issue that
would impact on Wikipedia.

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
This does all raise an interesting question of what jurisdictions actually
cover. In the "superinjunction" case for example, which of these is legally
able to be sued:


- A UK citizen who posts the names online from their home in the UK and
then remains in the UK after - obviously "yes".

- A US citizen who reads the names on Twitter and re-posts them online
from their hotel while on vacation in the UK, then remains in the UK for
some time

- A UK citizen who reads the names on Twitter and re-posts them online
from their hotel while on vacation in the US
1/ actionable while still on vacation in the US?
2/ actionable upon return to the UK?

- A US citizen who reads the names on Twitter and re-posts them online
from their home in the US
1/ actionable while in the US (having not traveled)?
2/ actionable when they travel to the UK on vacation a while later?


Just curious which of these is litigable or in contempt, and which is not.

FT2
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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
I ask since clearly a US citizen in the US can post these online, so - can a
UK citizen on holiday there? Or a US citizen in the UK? Or...?

In other words, how do the factors interact such as -- 1/ the country you're
a citizen of, 2/ the country whose laws were claimed to be broken, 3/ the
jurisdiction you were in when you took the alleged breaking action, or 4/
the ability of local legal process to access you, in deciding what's legally
actionable?

Lawyers welcomed :) Curiosity and enlightenment more than anything.

FT2
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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
>> On 20 May 2011 17:37, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> It won't be too long before a reputable news source covers the whole
>>> issue -
>>> or indeed a British Parliamentarian raises it under parliamentary
>>> privilege.
>>
> I'm thinking it will be interesting to see how Twitter's position is
> handled, namely that it's not a publisher. This is the issue that
> would impact on Wikipedia.
>

The action is in the U.K. The "publisher" fiction is American law. It
might come into play if an attempt is made in U.S. courts to collect any
judgment.

Fred


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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> I ask since clearly a US citizen in the US can post these online, so -
> can a
> UK citizen on holiday there? Or a US citizen in the UK? Or...?
>
> In other words, how do the factors interact such as -- 1/ the country
> you're
> a citizen of, 2/ the country whose laws were claimed to be broken, 3/ the
> jurisdiction you were in when you took the alleged breaking action, or 4/
> the ability of local legal process to access you, in deciding what's
> legally
> actionable?
>
> Lawyers welcomed :) Curiosity and enlightenment more than anything.
>
> FT2

I think any user who uses Twitter to publish information in the U.K. may
potentially be liable.

Commons sense has got to kick in somehow, but look at the wigs they wear...

Fred



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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20/05/2011 18:06, FT2 wrote:
> I ask since clearly a US citizen in the US can post these online, so - can a
> UK citizen on holiday there? Or a US citizen in the UK? Or...?
>
> In other words, how do the factors interact such as -- 1/ the country you're
> a citizen of, 2/ the country whose laws were claimed to be broken, 3/ the
> jurisdiction you were in when you took the alleged breaking action, or 4/
> the ability of local legal process to access you, in deciding what's legally
> actionable?
>
> Lawyers welcomed :) Curiosity and enlightenment more than anything.
>

One might want to factor in a Google News Case in Belgium that dealt
with which laws apply where:
http://www.barrysookman.com/2011/05/17/is-google-news-legal/

Also if it is found that WMF is negligent they may consider any senior
member of WMF resident in London to be personally liable.

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 19:21, Fred Bauder <fredbaud@fairpoint.net> wrote:

> I think any user who uses Twitter to publish information in the U.K. may
> potentially be liable.


The jurisdictional issues impact the users. Suing Twitter is unlikely
to go very far. It is *possible* they may be able to do something to
Facebook, who I believe have business presence in the UK. Suing WMUK
is unlikely to affect the behaviour of WMF, any more than the several
suits against WMDE have affected the behaviour of WMF.

I think our editors will continue to do the right thing concerning the
subjects of BLPs. And that we do this is IMO very important to
practical opinions concerning Wikipedia: that is, "Wikipedia" (WMF) is
not legally liable, but tries to do the *right thing*. We're here to
write an encyclopedia, not investigative journalism or a gossip rag.
That IMO is the most important *practical* protection of Wikipedia's
good name.


- d.

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> On 20/05/2011 18:06, FT2 wrote:
>> I ask since clearly a US citizen in the US can post these online, so -
>> can a
>> UK citizen on holiday there? Or a US citizen in the UK? Or...?
>>
>> In other words, how do the factors interact such as -- 1/ the country
>> you're
>> a citizen of, 2/ the country whose laws were claimed to be broken, 3/
>> the
>> jurisdiction you were in when you took the alleged breaking action, or
>> 4/
>> the ability of local legal process to access you, in deciding what's
>> legally
>> actionable?
>>
>> Lawyers welcomed :) Curiosity and enlightenment more than anything.
>>
>
> One might want to factor in a Google News Case in Belgium that dealt
> with which laws apply where:
> http://www.barrysookman.com/2011/05/17/is-google-news-legal/
>
> Also if it is found that WMF is negligent they may consider any senior
> member of WMF resident in London to be personally liable.

Oh! Poor Jimbo!

Fred



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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20/05/2011 19:56, Fred Bauder wrote:
>>
>> Also if it is found that WMF is negligent they may consider any senior
>> member of WMF resident in London to be personally liable.
>
> Oh! Poor Jimbo!
>


I wouldn't count on that DBE being in the post.

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 17:23, Risker <risker.wp@gmail.com> wrote:
> Speaking as someone who's been in the middle of this exact issue from the
> Wikipedia perspective, edits similar to the one described to have been made
> on Twitter were removed multiple times from our own site over an extended
> period: not because of the injunction, but because it was contentious and
> negative information that could not be reliably sourced.  Our BLP policy has
> worked.


Questionable. Oh we've kept the better known cases under wraps but
oversight and rev del but the lesser known cases and the flat out
false ones (want to damage a footballer's reputation? hint that they
have a super injuction) we haven't been so good at keeping up with.
The pattern of reverts and rev dels is pretty obvious if you know what
to look for as is the suspicious traffic bumps.

Perhaps ironicaly the number of false accusations has reached the
point that if we did care about BLP issues the responcible thing to do
would be to publish most of the 53 on the main page.

--
geni

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 17:37, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki@gmail.com> wrote:
> It won't be too long before a reputable news source covers the whole issue -
> or indeed a British Parliamentarian raises it under parliamentary privilege.

They won't. Most reputable news sources are not interested in kiss and
tell and there are other ones that are in place for really rather good
reasons to the point where breaking them would probably get you sued
for libel under even US law

> Then, of course, the material will be in the article even if there is still
> an outstanding superinjunction

What we've actualy got however is an argument over what is considered
a reputable news source.

--
geni

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> They won't. Most reputable news sources are not interested in kiss and
> tell and there are other ones that are in place for really rather good
> reasons to the point where breaking them would probably get you sued
> for libel under even US law
>

Heh, what news do you read!


>
> > Then, of course, the material will be in the article even if there is
> still
> > an outstanding superinjunction
>
> What we've actualy got however is an argument over what is considered
> a reputable news source.
>
>
Almost all of the content is trivial tabloid content of little interest...
the injunctions give it a minor twist but probably not enough to invalidate
the other BLP issues. So other than if the financial times splashed it
across their front page I doubt any of the stuff hidden by super-injunction
is worth having in the articles.

Tom/ErrantX
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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 21:21, Thomas Morton <morton.thomas@googlemail.com> wrote:
>> They won't. Most reputable news sources are not interested in kiss and
>> tell and there are other ones that are in place for really rather good
>> reasons to the point where breaking them would probably get you sued
>> for libel under even US law
>>
>
> Heh, what news do you read!

[[WP:ITN]]

There other thing to consider is that kiss and tell unless it involves
someone like Michael Jackson doesn't have much of an overseas market.


> Almost all of the content is trivial tabloid content of little interest...
> the injunctions give it a minor twist but probably not enough to invalidate
> the other BLP issues. So other than if the financial times splashed it
> across their front page I doubt any of the stuff hidden by super-injunction
> is worth having in the articles.

The Trafigura clearly was of interest (incidentally it appears that
one of their PR people is trying to edit the Trafigura article). The
Fred Goodwin one probably is. The rest that I know of probably not.

--
geni

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> On 20 May 2011 21:21, Thomas Morton <morton.thomas@googlemail.com> wrote:
>>> They won't. Most reputable news sources are not interested in kiss and
>>> tell and there are other ones that are in place for really rather good
>>> reasons to the point where breaking them would probably get you sued
>>> for libel under even US law
>>>
>>
>> Heh, what news do you read!
>
> [[WP:ITN]]
>
> There other thing to consider is that kiss and tell unless it involves
> someone like Michael Jackson doesn't have much of an overseas market.
>
>
>> Almost all of the content is trivial tabloid content of little interest...
>> the injunctions give it a minor twist but probably not enough to invalidate
>> the other BLP issues. So other than if the financial times splashed it
>> across their front page I doubt any of the stuff hidden by super-injunction
>> is worth having in the articles.
>
> The Trafigura clearly was of interest (incidentally it appears that
> one of their PR people is trying to edit the Trafigura article). The
> Fred Goodwin one probably is. The rest that I know

Yes, that was my asessment too :-)

Tom

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 19:29, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 20 May 2011 19:21, Fred Bauder <fredbaud@fairpoint.net> wrote:
>
>> I think any user who uses Twitter to publish information in the U.K. may
>> potentially be liable.
>
>
> The jurisdictional issues impact the users. Suing Twitter is unlikely
> to go very far. It is *possible* they may be able to do something to
> Facebook, who I believe have business presence in the UK.

Twitter are planning to open a London office:

http://www.brandrepublic.com/bulletin/digitalambulletin/article/1066031/twitter-open-uk-office-serve-commercial-needs/

This should be... interesting.

--
Tom Morris
<http://tommorris.org/>

Please don't print this e-mail out unless you want a hard copy of it.
If you do, go ahead. I won't stop you.

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 22:22, Tom Morris <tom@tommorris.org> wrote:

> Twitter are planning to open a London office:
> http://www.brandrepublic.com/bulletin/digitalambulletin/article/1066031/twitter-open-uk-office-serve-commercial-needs/
> This should be... interesting.


Over the last several years, the UK libel laws have been a strong
consideration in WMF carefully maintaining *no* local business
presence in the UK. The legal environment here is toxic for anyone who
doesn't have to put up with it.


- d.

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> On 20 May 2011 17:23, Risker <risker.wp@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Speaking as someone who's been in the middle of this exact issue from
>> the
>> Wikipedia perspective, edits similar to the one described to have been
>> made
>> on Twitter were removed multiple times from our own site over an
>> extended
>> period: not because of the injunction, but because it was contentious
>> and
>> negative information that could not be reliably sourced.  Our BLP
>> policy has
>> worked.
>
>
> Questionable. Oh we've kept the better known cases under wraps but
> oversight and rev del but the lesser known cases and the flat out
> false ones (want to damage a footballer's reputation? hint that they
> have a super injuction) we haven't been so good at keeping up with.
> The pattern of reverts and rev dels is pretty obvious if you know what
> to look for as is the suspicious traffic bumps.
>
> Perhaps ironicaly the number of false accusations has reached the
> point that if we did care about BLP issues the responcible thing to do
> would be to publish most of the 53 on the main page.
>
> --
> geni

Please mail User:Oversight with any such instance you are aware of. We do
suppress any mention of a superinjunction, as the assertion that there is
embarrassing personal information sufficient to support issuance of a
superinjunction is defaming.

Fred

Fred



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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
> On 20 May 2011 17:37, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki@gmail.com> wrote:
>> It won't be too long before a reputable news source covers the whole
>> issue -
>> or indeed a British Parliamentarian raises it under parliamentary
>> privilege.
>
> They won't. Most reputable news sources are not interested in kiss and
> tell and there are other ones that are in place for really rather good
> reasons to the point where breaking them would probably get you sued
> for libel under even US law
>
>> Then, of course, the material will be in the article even if there is
>> still
>> an outstanding superinjunction
>
> What we've actualy got however is an argument over what is considered
> a reputable news source.
>
> --
> geni

Actually no, the information is generally an invasion of privacy, and is
oversightable on that basis, but see Arnold_Schwarzenegger#Infidelity
Sometimes there is no point.

Fred



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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
On 20 May 2011 22:47, Fred Bauder <fredbaud@fairpoint.net> wrote:
> Please mail User:Oversight with any such instance you are aware of.

That's not actually legal.

--
geni

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Re: Interesting legal action [ In reply to ]
David Gerard writes:

Over the last several years, the UK libel laws have been a strong
> consideration in WMF carefully maintaining *no* local business
> presence in the UK. The legal environment here is toxic for anyone who
> doesn't have to put up with it.
>

I've discussed this precise issue (informally) with Twitter's general
counsel, and we agree that the exposure for Twitter in the UK is
significantly different than it would be for the Wikimedia Foundation. I
mean, of course you can libel someone in 140 characters -- we've all seen it
happen. But the role of Twitter in relation to tweets is much more like
(say) a phone company's role than it is like WMF's or even Google's.

Twitter is an excellent company to put this analysis to the test -- it has
the legal resources to challenge a libel lawsuit (or a hundred, or a
thousand), and the role it plays as a communications medium is, if not
unique, then certainly pretty unusual.

I'd look at legal precedents involving SMS/texting in the UK -- that may
tell you what Twitter is thinking.

The risks for WMF in the UK (and, indeed, throughout the EU as a function of
UK membership in the European Union) remain pretty significant, largely for
all the reasons that Wikipedia is something different from Twitter.


--Mike
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