[Theforum] Liability for comments

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Wed Dec 26 04:08:33 CST 2001

At 02:29 PM 12/26/2001, Martin typed these words:
>However, the Godfrey -v- Demon case shows otherwise in
>UK law. It also shows that the *host* is liable once their
>attention has been drawn to those comments.

Yep, that sucks.

I have no problem with a carrier's liability for copyright violation once 
they've been informed of it. However, defamation is subjective and there's 
no reliable way for an ISP to determine if comments on a discussion board 
are libelous. What I call criticism, you could call defamation.

The next thing you know, people will be filing lawsuits against newsprint 
manufacturers for defamatory remarks in magazine articles. Apparently, 
under UK law, the burden of proof for libel is on the defendant, not on the 
plaintiff. :(

The crazy part is that Godfrey got £15000 as damages, but £250,000 as legal 
fees. Oh, what has the world come to? When will we get judges who actually 
understand technology?

For those who want to read more about the Godfrey vs. Demon (a UK ISP), 
here are some links:



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Madhu Menon
User Experience Consultant
e-mail: webguru at vsnl.net

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