It's no secret that the UK's defamation laws are extremely problematic
. They've longed been used for "libel tourism" as well as to silence critics
. There's been a lot of talk
in the UK about fixing those issues, but little action. Now it appears that a new libel bill has been introduced
that, among other things, will give ISPs a 14-day window to respond to claims of libel. This seems sort of half-way between the typical "notice-and-takedown" and "notice-and-notice" proposals we've seen elsewhere. A two week window could actually give an ISP the chance to get a response or a challenge from the creator of the content before taking it down. However, not surprisingly, some are claiming this window is way too long, and ISPs should be forced to take down any content that is called libelous.
The bill does have many good aspects, including a defense for "responsible publication on matters of public interest," but appears to leave out a lot of important things as well
, including shifting the burden of proof from the accused to the accuser. It's hard to believe that anyone, in this day and age, could possibly still have a libel law that puts the burden on the accused to prove they didn't
libel someone. It's too bad that the UK doesn't appear ready to fix that glaring problem just yet.