Saturday, 21 May 2011

Oh yeah? Or what?

It's a fatal four-way.

This super-injuction thing needs sorting. A statement of the bleeding obvious, perhaps.

What really needs sorting though is the question of libel tourism in the UK, and the question of the jurisdiction of the British courts.

To be honest, I couldn't give a pair of dingo's kidneys if some premier league footballer has been a premier league arsehole and has been putting it about while wifey has been at home looking after her collection of designer handbags (and probably screwing the gardner when hubby is away on a European trip) or whatever it is these nouveau-fops and their trophy air-head brides get up to when they're not spitting, screaming in the face of the referee or being generally disrespectful and objectionable to each other and the people that have paid through the nose to watch them.

However, this could be a good fight;

Legal proceedings are being taken by a professional footballer against Twitter for allegedly publishing information covered by a super-injunction.

As Anna Raccoon points out about DSK in the rape case, this is a class of people who are used to having everyone jump whenever they give the word, whatever that word may be. But when a footballer tries to take on Twitter, he's going to find he comes up against an organisation and a man who takes freedom of expression very seriously indeed.

Papers lodged in the High Court are against Twitter and "persons unknown"

Twitter are a company who operate out of California, I wonder if they are going to capitulate in the face of documents from the British High Court? I reckon not.

The order requires Twitter to disclose the requested information within seven days - or within the appropriate time required by the law in California, where Twitter has its headquarters.

Lawyers at Schillings who represent CTB have issued a statement clarifying the action it has taken.

It said it was not suing Twitter but had made an application "to obtain limited information concerning the unlawful use of Twitter by a small number of individuals who may have breached a court order".

Yes, but breached a court order in the UK. Not California. Now, if CTB, whoever he may be, wants to invoke California law, he needs to be careful. As I understand it, the courts in California would look at this attempt via the High Court in a very dim light indeed, and any order to Twitter to release information would probably be contested in court in California by Twitter, who would be likely to make the reasonable argument that as a company operating in California, they are no more subject to the whims of the High Court in London than they are to a magistrate in Gambia. The courts in California would be highly unlikely to allow an application for this data to be filed under a protected, or false name. It would be very much a case of Clogger O'Toole of 27 Footballer Street, being named by the court as the applicant.

Wikipedia is not so coy as the British media and names who they believe is the person in question and goes on to quote the Streisand effect. While the media in Britain can be gagged in Britain, you can't gag the internet, a; because it just isn't possible, it would be like trying to nail mercury to the floor, and b; sooner or later a foreign media outlet is going to tell the High Court that they have no jurisdiction outside these islands and no sanction.

Twitter has helped bring down governments that have held on to power for decades in the space of a fortnight, a premiership footballer who can't keep his pants on is no challenge at all.

As for the High Court, they too are used to people acting on their every word. I wonder how they will react when another Court in another country turns around and says 'Hey, buddy, my jurisdiction, back in your box, please'?

1 comment:

Lee said...

What a farce. The English courts think they can stop people abroad posting information on websites based abroad. Things have moved on since the 1970s when Princess Anne was shagging around Europe and everyone knew about it but us.

I'm having a lot of fun re-posting the links where the people mentioned in these injunctions are named...sod the consequences!