« Kojo's Take From UNSCAM: $300,000 | Main | Democrat Conspiracy To Buy Votes Grows Wider »
Earlier, I wrote about Sheikh Mahfouz and his libel case in Britain against Rachel Ehrenfeld for a book she never published outside the United States. Mahfouz won a default judgment against Ehrenfeld when she refused to acknowledge English jurisdiction for the case. Now British courts have laid claim to the entire Internet for libel and slander cases and Arnold Schwarzenegger has become their first target:
Schwarzenegger, who is now governor of California, had challenged a ruling by a senior High Court official giving Anna Richardson permission to serve proceedings on him out of the jurisdiction.
The decision today, by Mr Justice Eady, has cleared the way for a libel trial in London sometime this year.
Miss Richardson alleges she was libelled by Schwarzenegger and two campaign workers in an October 2003 article in The Los Angeles Times, which also appeared on the internet.
The article ran in the Los Angeles Times, which publishes within the United States, about a political race that involved the state of California and covered political topics. The LAT does not publish in the United Kingdom and only is available through the Internet to British readers. However, the plaintiff filed her case in Britain because defendants bear the burden of proof in the UK, not the plaintiffs, and it becomes much easier to win large judgments against media outlets.
Before people begin discounting this development with the attitude that the Times deserves a spanking over its atrocious recall-election coverage, consider what British courts have done. They now claim that anything which appears on the internet falls within their jurisdiction and can be adjudicated by British courts using British legal standards. That will apply to bloggers as well. If we start criticizing Tony Blair, for instance, he may well be able to file suit against us in London instead of the United States. That means our own due process will evaporate, as well as our First Amendment protections and the presumption of innocence we take for granted.
Not only does this bode ominously for free speech, it constitutes an unacceptable assault on American sovereignty. Had the LA Times published specifically in Britain -- say, with a paper version disseminated in London -- then they have to assume the liabilities that involves. However, simply making their editions available on the Internet does not give the UK the right to override their right to free speech and the protections of American legal code and custom.
While I'm no fan of the LA Times, in this case we'd better start speaking out against this encroachment before it (a) discourages media outlets from publishing to the Internet, and (b) starts getting applied to bloggers. The State Department should send a strong message to the United Kingdom explaining that America will not tolerate an infringement on our sovereignty and our open speech.Sphere It View blog reactions
TrackBack URL for this entry is
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Britain Stakes Further Claim For Speech Jurisdiction:
» British Courts Overstep Their Bounds from The Politicker
The Captain has coverage on an issue which may very well alter the way we think about out rights unless the US government intervenes. Quoting a previous entry about libel cases, the Captain notes that a British court has now... [Read More]
Tracked on March 23, 2005 3:43 PM
» Sovereignty and the 1st Amendment from Heard Here
Sovereignty and the 1st Amendment I have been following the lawsuits filed in British courts against publishers in the US, whose books have never been published in the UK nor distributed there [Read More]
Tracked on March 23, 2005 4:08 PM
Tracked on March 23, 2005 6:18 PM
» Law - UK oversteps its bounds from Grey Thoughts
I wonder what the EU constitution says about extradition/siezing of assets for member countries. Is travel to or investment in the EU also going to be a nono if the UK has already found you libel? [Read More]
Tracked on March 23, 2005 8:58 PM
» Keep your eye on these cases. from Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog
There's a number of court cases going on in the US and abroad that are very interesting and quite worrisome. First, a couple from Captain's Quarters. - There is a vote buying scandal being busted up in St. Louis from last year's elections. Thr... [Read More]
Tracked on March 25, 2005 3:28 AM
Tracked on December 23, 2005 11:26 PM
Tracked on March 28, 2006 6:46 AM
Tracked on March 28, 2006 6:46 AM
Tracked on March 30, 2006 7:53 AM
My Other Blog!
Comment Moderation Policy - Please Read!
Skin The Site
Des Moines Register
International Herald Tribune
The Weekly Standard
The New Republic
AP News (Yahoo! Headlines)
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
- dave on Another National Health Care System Horror Story
- brooklyn on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- rbj on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- Robin S on Requiem For A Betrayed Hero
- Ken on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- Robin S. on Requiem For A Betrayed Hero
- RBMN on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- NoDonkey on Another National Health Care System Horror Story
- Robin Munn on Fred Thompson Interview Transcript
- filistro on When Exactly Did Art Die?
Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!