In February 2015, we were instructed by the owner and manager of a reputable rental and property management business which started trading in February 2001 in Jalon, Alicante, Spain regarding a case of online defamation/harassment. The D had set up a website with a disparaging name similar to our client’s.
Internet defamation jurisdiction
The following is a very useful Internet defamation jurisdiction case:
Internet defamation jurisdiction – C-68/93 Fiona Shevill and others v. Presse Alliance SA
(Reference for a preliminary ruling from the House of Lords) (Brussels Convention – Article 5(3) – Places where the harmful event occurred – Libel by a newspaper article).
The European Court of Justice in considering the meaning of ‘where the harmful event occured’ held as follows:
Super injunctions are not the battleground for free speech as they have been portrayed as being in the mass media. None of the recent cases have been about the media flouting the rules on what is in the public interest to publish.
In actual fact the issues were about information which the courts have ordered to be protected ending up on Wikipedia or Twitter. Recent press coverage does not relate to super-injunctions but anonymised injunctions.
The defamation bill of Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC (“the Bill”) was published on the 27 May 2010. The press release to the bill states that the bill “seeks to reduce the chilling effect on freedom of expression and recourse to self censorship that results from the vagueness and uncertainty of the present law. It also aims to encourage the free exchange of ideas and information, whilst providing an effective and proportionate remedy to anyone whose reputation is unfairly damaged”.