People shouldnt be above the law
Especially these vigilante keyboard warriors.
The UK's attorney general is going to publish social media guidance on Twitter and the government's website to stop tweeters, Facebookers and other social media types from committing contempt of court when talking about legal cases. Dominic Grieve QC said that the guidance would help to ensure fair trials for people. Anyone …
So since all tweeters will have to abide by the same rules as THE PRESS - does that mean that all press briefings and injunction notices will have to go out to everyone on twitter and facebook?
Does it create a slight logical problem to send a message to everyone on social media including the details of an injunction telling them that they mustn't publicize this information?
Note to foreigners: super injunctions are court orders where you are not only banned from publishing some news item/gossip but you are banned from reporting that there is a ban in place. How you get to know that you mustn't report anything because there is a secret ban on reporting it is tricky.
Obviously not. If your not the subject of an injunction then obviously you can't actually be in violation of it. The problem the courts faced was as follows:-
Newspaper S uncovers evidence (Mr I was paid £ a years salary for handing in a less than truthful stat dec) that celebrity A was screwing celebrity B. The newspapers phone celebrity A and asks them for a comment on a news story they plan on running.
Celebrity A goes to court with a slander case against Mr I, and gets an injunction against newspaper S compromising a fair trial by reporting utter bullocks until the trial is finished. Newspaper S then just publishes a story saying that "we have been served with injunctions preventing us from reporting the following..."
Personally, I think the appropriate way of dealing with that would be to stick the editor of newspaper S in prison for the maximum two years for contempt of court. given that the editor of newspaper S has prevented Mr I from receiving a fair trial, but instead the judges went down the "super injunction" route and started making it quite clear that they couldn't disclose the contents of the injunction to prevent newspapers from taking the piss.
But a superinjunction is before anything is reported.
So I shag a sheep - I hear that el Reg is going to run this story so I get an injunction against anyone mentioning it.
The court has to tell the press about the injunction and tell them not to mention the injunction. Fine if that is just calling Murdoch and the Guardian - but how does the court tell 20Million Twitter and facebook members not to publish anything about me and the sheep without mentioning me or floppsy?
From the article, it appears that it was HM Courts and Tribunal Service that actually published the names of the women, this was then put on a US web site and PG read it there.
A bit awkward to prosecute someone if they have seen information that the courts themselves disseminated in error.
How about the courts also stop foreign media from publishing the names in the first place?
The law is good, to protect the victims even if that means a perpetrator gets anonymity. But the law is no good if it can be worked around by such a simple thing as a foreign paper publishing the names online for all to read in this country. Arguably, the paper should be taken to court for making this information available in the UK (they could apply some form of IP based restriction to the article). At the very least, that media disrespected our laws (even though they don't operate within them themselves).
So what would happen if the Court published the information, it was reposted by a foreign subscriber to Twitter, some one from the UK on hoiliday abroad saw it and re-tweeted it when outside the UK? The UK citizen was not in the UK when they did it so would they be subject to UK law stand a chance of being prosecuted or would it come under foreign law?
"The UK citizen was not in the UK when they did it so would they be subject to UK law stand a chance of being prosecuted or would it come under foreign law?/"
Sorry but you're confusing the UK with a free country. Of course they would be prosecuted. It's all about respecting the courts.
It printed a story that the rumours about John Major having an affair with a Downing St staff member were false. He sued for libel, went after the distributors (as he was allowed to do), they caved in without a fight, and passed the bill to the magazine (as their distribution contract said they could). Result: no more magazine and when it turned out that he had been having an affair with Edwina Currie and would have lost any court case, it was a bit late.
'Allegedly' won't protect you.
but where do things stand if said Tweet/Blog/ ( insert soshul meja thingy ) comment is from abroad?
For example: If person A in America Tweets something the Old Baily is not best pleased about and I happen to be following them but do NOT ReTweet, I'm assuming nothing will happen. But I will still know what I'm not supposed to know. You know what I mean?
If I tweet a link to a website outside ( but do not comment at all about ) the UK/EU containing content that would make a Judge burn his wig, what then? Would it be the same if CNN broadcast a name in a news report and I happen to have that as part of my TV package? CNN are in U.S jurisdiction.
Here are some questions to test this "contempt of court" law:
1. If I am an American citizen, in the USA and I tweet something that identifies someone in a court case in the UK - am I in contempt of court?
2. If I am an British citizen, in the USA (say on holiday) and I tweet something that identifies someone in a court case in the UK - am I in contempt of court?
3. If I am an American citizen, in the UK and I tweet something that identifies someone in a court case in the UK - am I in contempt of court?
4. If I am an British citizen, in the UK, but publishing my tweet via a VPN to the USA and I tweet something that identifies someone in a court case in the UK - am I in contempt of court?
5. If I am an American citizen, in Italy and I tweet something that identifies someone in a court case in the UK - am I in contempt of court?
... and on it goes!
What exactly is the law on all of this, is it:
a) the nationality of the person performing the tweet (the "nationality"), or
b) the location of the tweet origin the problem, or
c) the territory of the offender (where the offender was at the time) the problem
they can all be different!
It seems to me that the Attorney General is trying to prop up the "supremacy of the court" against a changed landscape - one of international movement and international communications and yet he does not have international jurisdiction to back him!
If I ever feel the need to tweet something that is controversial or potentially unlawful all I have to do is get in a Ryanair jet to Spain... tweet it... and fly back!
Surely this shows that, in this respect, "the law is an ass" ?
Yes to all of them, but in 1. you are outside the reach of the courts in the relevant country within the UK. If you are in another EU country, they can get a European Arrest Warrant to bring you back to the UK to face justice. VPNs are not relevant to the discussion.
I think you're in danger of overcomplicating this.
What I think the Attorney General is trying to do is to make people aware that there ARE laws in place to do with contempt of court, so that they can't say, in all innocence "I didn't know I wasn't allowed to say that."
The contempt laws are not in place to just be awkward - they are put in place to protect the innocent (like the babies who were raped by the LostProphets guy) and to ensure that people can get a fair trial.
The second one is particularly important - one day soon, a person who is almost certain guilty of a heinous crime will walk free because some idiot tweeted information about them that gets into the public domain which will make it impossible for them to get a fair trial.
I believe Martin has the gist of it here, in that the aim is to raise awareness of the law.
Getting on a plane to another country or using a VPN will not make you immune to prosecution if it can be shown that you did those things with the sole purpose of circumventing the legislation.
"circumventing legislation"... is that anything like "ensuring you don't break the law".
If they want to introduce legislation forbidding someone from doing something, they have to have clearly defined ruled on what is and isn't punishable. Those scenarios highlight this need.
> Here are some questions to test this "contempt of court" law:
> What exactly is the law on all of this...
> Surely this shows that, in this respect, "the law is an ass" ?
hmmn IANAL so I cannot answer your questions authoritatively, so I propose that we construct a set of rules and a system to interpret the rules and deliver consistent judgments on these and other questions.
I don't know if this idea will catch on but personally I don't see what could possibly go wrong
Some short-sighted court orders/injunctions are frequently unenforceable. When someone registers at a social web site they are quite able to use Russia, or China or Cambodia as their home country. So how would a Beak determine what posts were illegal?
I have, legally, three passports. Often laws of one of these countries conflict with those of another. I also reside/work in a fourth country whose interests are often diametrically different to my other countries - particularly when it comes to military products we sell. One countries 'terrorist' is another's 'freedom fighter'.
So I usually follow the principal of "When in Rome ..." Trying to enforce laws in areas outside a jurisdiction is dumb.
I was listening to some guy on the radio saying that...
"We don't sequester jurors like they do in America because we expect the media to behave themselves."
Are you fucking kidding me? That's like expecting a two-year-old to not draw on your wall with crayons.
Remember how the papers hacked phones?