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Guardian: Ryan Giggs named in court as injunction footballer

Copyright: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Ryan Giggs has been named in court for the first time as the footballer behind an injunction taken out against the Sun, the Guardian reports.

According to the news site, the footballer “agreed to lift the anonymity injunction” in a hearing at the high court in London earlier today.

Giggs took out the injunction in order to prevent the tabloid revealing an affair.

Thousands ignored the court ruling and named him as the footballer in question on Twitter, leaving journalists in a “strange situation” concerning the reporting of his name.

The Guardian states:

Hugh Tomlinson QC, counsel for Giggs, told the court that the footballer had been subject to “large scale breaches of the order by malign individuals”.

“The claimant’s name is in the public domain contrary to court orders,” he added. “The claimant has consented to the removal of the anonymity order completely.”

Mr Justice Tugendhat said: “Anonymity no longer applies and has not applied since 1 February.”

According to the Guardian, Mr Justice Tugendhat is considering “a claim by Giggs for damages for alleged misuse of private information by the Sun”.

Giggs is also seeking an injunction “to restrain future publication of private information”, according to the report.

The court heard that the anonymity order that prevented the media from naming Giggs was lifted on 1 February. However, an “administrative error” by Giggs’s solicitors meant the Sun was not informed.

The counsel for News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Sun, reportedly told the court the injunction claim should be thrown out.

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Telegraph: Injunction bars publication of information on social media

May 13th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

The Telegraph reports that an order has been issued in the Court of Protection which specifically bars the publication of related information on Facebook and Twitter.

This follows the posting of allegations on Twitter related to celebrities who were accused of having sought injunctions to protect their privacy.

Legal experts said they had never seen an injunction which specifically barred publication of information on social networking websites. The order also bars reporters from going within 164 foot (50 metres) of the woman’s care home without permission.

See the Telegraph’s full report here…

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Mail Online: New high court injunction granted for sports star

November 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Press freedom and ethics

According to the Daily Mail, a married sportsman has won an injunction from the high court banning reporting on his private life. The Mail says its possible that the injunction will be modified to allow reporting of the individual’s name but not the secret.

Full story on Mail Online at this link…

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Telegraph: Footballer wins high court injunction against tabloid story

August 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

The Sunday Telegraph and Telegraph.co.uk reports that a Premier League footballer has won a high court injunction preventing publication of claims about him in a Sunday tabloid.

The ruling was obtained from Mr Justice Nicol, says the paper, and adds to recent debate about UK privacy laws, freedom of the press and injunctions, as raised by the cases of Max Mosley and John Terry.

Full story on the Telegraph website at this link…

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Twitter injunction: ‘No such thing as unfettered freedom of speech’ says right-wing blogger

October 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Legal, Social media and blogging

Yesterday we noted how the UK High Court served its first order via Twitter, saying that the social website and microblogging service was the best way to reach an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating someone.

Solicitors Griffin Law sought the injunction against @blaneysblarney claiming that it was impersonating the solicitor Donal Blaney – the owner of Griffin Law – who uses the name Blaney’s Blarney for his right-wing political blog.

His barrister, Matthew Richardson, is triumphing it as the ‘Blaney’s Blarney order’ – a success in the battle against anonymous abuse online, he said.

But it also raises questions about the threat to freedom of speech caused by such an order. Cynics might also suggest such a high-profile move was simply good PR for Blaney’s firm. Journalism.co.uk put these questions to Donal Blaney this morning:

blarneys

Bypassing Twitter to court

Blaney said he chose not to contact Twitter but go straight to court, because the microblogging service is like the ‘very worst ISPs were 10 years ago’, who said ‘oh it’s not our fault, we just provide the platform’.

“Well, the court says ‘no chaps. It is your fault’. You are a publisher and you are just as liable as if the Daily Telegraph published something,” argued Blaney.

When he approached the service during another case – his client wanted to have an account removed – he had found Twitter unhelpful: “It took a week for the offending account to be taken down – which is outrageous. Getting hold of Twitter is impossible. They don’t provide a phone number. There is a fax number that no one replied to.”

High risk strategy, but good PR

“Ok yes, I am getting good coverage on this,” Blaney admits. “But equally if it had gone wrong people would have called me a prat.”

Blaney is not convinced it will win him additional clients: “Unfortunately the way the legal profession works, even though I might like to think ‘oh great on the back of this every celeb or sportsperson who is being impersonated is going to come and use my firm’, I know they’re not.

“I was resigned to having to waste a week of my life chasing Twitter to get them to take it down. I thought it was worth giving it a go in court. I’m at risk on damages.”

[Cross-undertaking damages: applicant will be required to pay the damage caused to the defendant arising from the grant of the interim injunction, if it turns out the injunction should not have been ordered in the first place]

Bullying not parody, says Blaney

Blaney said it was not an instance of satire or parody in his view: “The grounds under which I got the order were breach of copyright and passing off.” And the court agreed, he says, or he wouldn’t have got the order.

“It is bullying, that is precisely what it is: to set up an account in someone else’s name. To pass yourself off as them, to contact your friends and pretend to be them. To use your image, to use the name of your blog, to deliberately and maliciously to screw with someone else’s head. That’s bullying: exactly the same concept as flushing someone’s head down a toilet or anything else,” he claimed.

He said he advised others – and names at least one celebrity currently being mocked in a similar fashion – to think about similar action:

“If it’s a situation where someone’s being parodied this is not the route to pursue; if it’s a situation where someone is being stalked or bullied or harassed, or having their intellectual property rights infringed, I would encourage them to do this.”

Blaney believes harassment ‘trumps’ the right to freedom of speech:

“There are two other things that trump freedom of speech: right to [intellectual] property and infringing copyright,” he argues.

“There is a boundary which gets overtaken – harassment, the malicious causing of harassment and distress. There’s no such thing as unfettered freedom of speech.”

And what next?

The account holder must obey the court order, or will be in contempt of court. But what Blaney’s next step is, he doesn’t know. “Will this person just take the site down and not reveal their identity?” he asks.

If it is closed, that would only solve it ‘up to a point’ he claims, adding ‘but it depends if I can be bothered to go after the individual behind it.’

Journalism.co.uk has attempted to contact @blaneysblarney for further comment (via Twitter.)

What do you think? Was the court correct to issue such an order? What are the implications for online anonymity?

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Reuters: ‘UK court orders writ to be served via Twitter’

October 1st, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

According to Reuters –  and tweeting Channel 4 journalists – Britain’s High Court ordered its first injunction via Twitter today, saying that the social website and microblogging service was the best way to reach an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating someone.

Solicitors Griffin Law sought the injunction against @blaneysblarney claiming that it was impersonating the right-wing blogger Donal Blaney – the owner of Griffin Law.

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