Libel Tourism Case Dismissed Because Little Evidence Of UK Visitors Seeing The Article

from the nice-try dept

We’ve discussed how the UK is used for “libel tourism” quite frequently, since its libel laws are more draconian than elsewhere. Thus, if someone is upset about what someone else has said about them, they’ll often file a lawsuit in the UK, arguing that because the content is available online, it’s been “published” in the UK. Thankfully, the UK courts have been a bit better about cracking down on these sorts of cases when they’re obviously frivolous. In one recent case, the court rejected the claim by noting that there was little evidence many people in the UK saw the article, which was published in a South African publication. Specific evidence over how many UK readers viewed that article were not provided, but log files showed that only a grand total of 65 readers viewed the article at all over the 2 months following publication (so you could even say that if all 65 were in the UK, the “damage” was pretty limited). But, the publication did show that its site normally gets about 6.79% of its visitors from the UK, which would translate to about 4 UK visitors — not nearly enough to prove “publication” in the UK. It’s good to see the UK courts being a bit more careful about these things, though it would still be much better if the UK updated its outdated libel laws to avoid this kind of lawsuit altogether.

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Comments on “Libel Tourism Case Dismissed Because Little Evidence Of UK Visitors Seeing The Article”

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Pete Austin says:

Nothing wrong with UK Libel Law in this case.
(1) This looks like a SLAPP lawsuit, intended to harass the writer, judging by the email excerpts quoted in the referenced article, rather than one based on a specific law.
(2) Libel/Slander only matters if it is causes damage, which this didn’t. For example insults don’t count. See the note in the referenced article, about how a related lawsuit was thrown out.

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