New York Times Tells Brits They Can't Read Article On UK Terror Case

from the jurisdictional-silliness dept

Questions of legal jurisdiction over online content are nothing new at all. Over the years, we've pointed to plenty of legal cases that raised issues about online publications, and whether the content was liable under local laws in countries outside of where the publisher (or its servers) were based. Unfortunately, there still isn't a general agreement on what laws apply, and that makes things risky. Apparently, the NY Times didn't want to risk any such lawsuit in the UK, so when it published an article yesterday about the British terror case, it used some of its geographic ad targeting technology to also block out visitors from the UK from reading the content. This is to stay on the right side of British laws that "prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial." Of course, the Times then went on to publish an article proudly stating how they blocked the content from UK readers, which makes you wonder how effective the ban really is. By calling attention to it, it seems pretty likely that plenty of folks in the UK will be able to read the same (or similar) content from plenty of other sources. This isn't to call out the Times for the practice, but to question whether such laws are actually still possible in a world with a global internet.

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  1. identicon
    eJudge, 29 Aug 2006 @ 5:17am

    Internet laws

    Theoretical Conversation:

    "Yes censorship is evil- nothing should be censored... "

    But what about Poedophile sites showing abuse of kids...

    "Well, yeah, that should be censored..."

    So you are pro censorship then...

    Certain stuff we don't want on the web- such as that outlined above. But removing that IS censorship.

    In a perfect world all nations could sit down over a nice plate of Strawberry Cheescake and Hot Coffee and agree to a list of what is and isn't acceptable on the web.

    This isn't a perfect world.

    So China will block sites for Taiwanese independence- and google will be forced to kneel and do what the red overlords ask.

    For the so called "free world" though- it would be nice if standards were put in place- ensuring ALMOST no censorship on any of the free worlds servers- obviously most people would agree... those Michael Jackson wannabes should not be allowed to have their fun.

    More broardly- websites that make money by depicting internationally recognized crime (we wouldn't want pay per view sites of people commiting murder or rape popping up either)...

    Please note, Britain is not the villain here- the NYT is- they censored their own content. I would like to hope that Britain is not the enemy of free press- although there have been times when it had been.

    I still remember when British comedians were barred from making Diana jokes for example... tasteless- but no government should tell us what humour to express.

    Anyhow- no censorship? You wanna allow Michael Jackson's friends abusing children online?

    No, few people want no censorship... what we want is ALMOST no censorship.

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