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
    Just Me, 29 Aug 2006 @ 5:50am

    publicity stunt

    Could this be a publicity stunt? I am not aware of any laws they would prevent a publisher from publishing contents over the internet, and worry about who should or shouldn't see the contents.

    Yes, there are contents that if published, then you would have the law nocking on your door, but we are not talking about that now, are we?

    Of course, there are many countries like China, Tunisia, Moroco, etc that have blocked websites, so that people of these countries are unable to view the contents of whatever sites that have been blocked.

    The point I am trying to make here is a simple one. Given the Freedom of Information Act 2000, UK citizens have more rights to access information than those in the US.

    So, it has to be a publicity stunt, and they have successeded already, as we've already started talking about it.

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