A court ruling obtained by UK regional newspaper group Newsquest could have a significant impact on the issue of what protection publishers have in legal cases based on user-generated content on their sites.
In a defamation action, Newsquest had been sued by a solicitor Imran Karim following a report that he had been struck off by the Law Society.
The story attracted a range of comments, both in support and critical of Karim, which were removed by Newsquest as soon as the legal claim from Karim was received.
“Mr Justice Eady concluded that Newsquest websites were acting as hosts of the reader comments for the purposes of Regulation 19 of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and therefore would not be liable for any damages even if the material was unlawful,” reports HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.
“He said Newsquest had fulfilled the conditions for protection under Regulation 19, namely that the comments had been posted directly to the sites by third-party contributors without intervention by Newsquest, and that they had acted expeditiously to remove access to the material.”