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Traverse 2014 - keeping it legal

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A presentation for travel bloggers on defamation and photo copyright

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Traverse 2014 - keeping it legal

  1. 1. + Traverse Newcastle, February 22, 2014 @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  2. 2. + Keeping it legal @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  3. 3. + Once upon a time… @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  4. 4. + George Carman QC @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  5. 5. + The case of TravelRants May, 2009…. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  6. 6. + The case of TravelRants  Online travel agency DialAFlight finds that an identical comment, written under an apparent pseudonym, is posted on seven travel-related sites. The comment alleges improper conduct over a customer service issue.  DialAFlight argued in its subsequent legal action that the malicious and libellous comment was written by a competitor. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  7. 7. + The case of TravelRants  A legal action was filed in the High Court against Tripadvisor, Grumbletext, Caio (Germany) and TravelRants. Not against three other sites that immediately removed the comment.  The action against TravelRants sought up to £50,000 in damages, £780 in court fees, and an injunction barring the defendant from continuing to publish the defamatory words.  Darren temporarily ceased blogging in June, 2009, due to the stress. He issued an unreserved apology and deleted the comment, eventually, having acknowledged he had not taken action when contacted by DialAFlight earlier. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  8. 8. + The case of TravelRants ―Hearing a knock on the door, and being handed a libel claim for £50,000 from the High Court in London is not an experience that I want anyone to have. I ended up settling outside of court, and was £1,500 worse off as a result, but it could have been much worse. Darren Cronian @stevenkeenan @socialtrav What I had done was stupid, and a very simple mistake to make. I had published a libelous comment left by a reader, and it wasn‘t a pleasant experience.‖
  9. 9. + Life after TravelRants… @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  10. 10. + Defamation – libel and slander  Generally, defamation is a false and unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to someone's reputation, and published "with fault," meaning as a result of negligence or malice. Libel is a written defamation; slander is a spoken defamation. www.eff.org - a legal guide for bloggers @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  11. 11. + What is actionable @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  12. 12. + Ignorance is no defence  What if you publish another person's statement (i.e. someone comments on your posts)?  Generally, anyone who repeats someone else's statements is just as responsible for their defamatory content as the original speaker — if they knew, or had reason to know, of the defamation. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  13. 13. + Changes in the law @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  14. 14. + Defamation Act 2013  Key areas  Includes a requirement for claimants to show that they have suffered serious harm before suing for defamation. Which means that…  There should be fewer trivial, time-consuming complaints that usually go nowhere. Fewer cases will go to court  Libel actions against web-only publications are likely to fail if the page did not attract many clicks  Businesses can now sue only if a statement caused, or was likely to cause, serious financial loss. They will probably have to provide documentary evidence, but not to the extent of producing accounts @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  15. 15. + Defamation Act 2013  Key areas  The one-year time limit for starting web libel actions now starts when an article is first published online. It does not re-start every time an article is viewed, or downloaded, as has been the case up to now. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  16. 16. + Defamation Act 2013 Key areas Websites no longer have to pre-moderate comments  The act introduces a section 5 defence. This is a ‗report and remove‘ system that people can use if they believe they have been defamed on a website message board.  The system enables website operators to deal with all initial correspondence in-house. This will save legal fees.  As a result of the new guidelines, website operators should… @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  17. 17. + Defamation Act 2013  Have a robust, written complaints policy. Designate and train all staff (!) to deal with complaints correctly, and within new timescale. Timing is critical  Acknowledge and deal with complaints promptly – preferably by email, in order to comply with the 48hour deadline (excluding weekends and Bank Holidays…) @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  18. 18. + Defamation Act 2013  If the poster can be identified and served with legal proceedings, it provides a complete defence for the website operator and the claimant will need to pursue the poster.  So, for example, in the case brought by Lord McAlpine against Sally Bercow, Twitter would have had a complete defence under Section 5, even if it decided not to take down the offending tweet. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  19. 19. + Defamation Act 2013  If the poster is anonymous, the website operator will have the option of following the Section 5 procedure set out in the Regulations but it can only keep publishing the content complained of and still rely on the defence if:  The poster consents to be identified to the complainant; or …  The poster provides full contact details (including a postal address) to the website operator which can be disclosed pursuant to a court order. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  20. 20. + Defamation Act 2013  Which is highly unlikely…  So, unless you decide that you want to defend the content on one of the other available grounds of defence - such as truth or honest opinion – you will need to remove the content complained of @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  21. 21. + Defamation Act 2013  Give website users clear instructions on how to complain, and who to. This may mean providing a Report Abuse button  Update your website terms and conditions to reflect the new arrangements @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  22. 22. + Defamation Act 2013  A site providing message boards is advised to register users before they are allowed to make a post. Registration should include taking their names and contact details  Users should be told, before they accept site terms and conditions, that the operator may divulge their details if they post anything defamatory. Keep written records of complaints, with the dates and times of actions taken @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  23. 23. + Protect yourself  The Media Bloggers Association in New York encourages bloggers and other web-based writers to protect themselves in the case of a lawsuit. The MBA created a programme to educate digital journalists about their legal rights as writers and provide insurance targeted directly at them.  The basic policy costs $540 a year, but certain factors can raise the price @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  24. 24. + Unions  Consider joining the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) or British Association of Journalists (BAJ).  Both have free legal advice available as part of subscription – also have tax advice. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  25. 25. + Let‘s talk about photo theft… @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  26. 26. + Let‘s talk about photo theft… @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  27. 27. + Let‘s talk about photo theft… @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  28. 28. + Over to Macca  The £28k payout from Flight Centre @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  29. 29. + The story with Kash – via Twitter   Kashyap Bhattacharya Anyone got a good legal contact who I could seek advice from? My image has been used without my permission by a noted language online teaching company. Thanks to Jane Meighan, I found out. Be great if there was someone I could speak to about this. Thanks. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  30. 30. + Creative Commons licence @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  31. 31. + Creative Commons licence There are different types of Flickr licences: @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  32. 32. + Creative Commons licence There are different types of Flickr licences: @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  33. 33. + Creative Commons licence There are six different types of Flickr licences: The most popular? @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  34. 34. + Creative Commons licence There are six different types of Flickr licences: The most popular? @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  35. 35. + One final thought.. @stevenkeenan @socialtrav
  36. 36. + Thank you @stevenkeenan @socialtrav

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