- An example of the law becoming an ass- UK bad internet law means you can never criticize anyone selling a product
- Quackometer.net did a story quite rightly exposing struck off doctor and fake professor Obi's business. Obi got his mate to write to the ISP Netecetera saying he owned the trademarks mentioned and he would sue them for $1m/day the site stayed up. Netcetera told quackometer to reach an agreement with Obi, and when that was not done gave a few hours notice before pulling the site.
- Absolutely outrageous an ISP shouldn't just pull the plug on someone just cos of a threat from a crook ! But when you follow the trail you can see it's the result of a bad precedent set in UK law, where in a previous case an ISP has been judged not to be like a mere printer, but a joint publisher and so responsible for financial losses of the libelled. So for example if you made a successful anti-cigarette site saying smoking kills people the ISP could get sued by the cigarette companies for $500m in lost sales. Now the site may well have saved 5 million lives, but this counts for nothing in legal financial terms. If it came to court and the cigarette company lost the ISP would lose nothing ie their choice is side with the cigarette company - maximum loss zero, side with the website maximum loss $500m.
- In this case quackometer makes no money so it could not sue the ISP for millions of dollars in lost sales.
- It can clearly be argued that ISPs who take the correct moral stance are putting their shareholders money at unnecessary risk.
- the net result is a world where you can't criticize anyone's products ... or is it ?
- Actually he net result in this particular case is a lot of good publicity for Quackometer including dozens of people copying and reposting the Obi article - so amplifying the bad publicity for him and motivate people to do some research exposing numerous legal breaches by him, as his company is illegally registered and vastly underdeclaring earnings so is guilty of tax fraud. Netcetera the ISP
who saved money, by not checking the story themselves will lose sales.
- So we can see in the case of the cigarette companies the real outcome would be similar- they couldn't stop the story. The practical net result is if your story is peer judged to be true, then business cannot win the story will be exposed and the public interest served.
- The stupid UK law actually makes no difference in practice except to cause UK ISP's
additional expense in checking complained about stories so creating a competitive advantage for offshore ISPS