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UK Trolls May See Legal Response To Defamation

By - Source: PhysOrg | B 30 comments
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Defamation of other users in comments could now come with a consequence.

The responsibility of users attacking users and authors in comments may be shifting from the website to the author of a comment. A recently introduced Defamation Bill discussed by the UK parliament suggests that websites would not be responsible for the postings of its users anymore, as long as they are willing to reveal a user's identity. The move is largely seen as a way to contain Internet trolling in which users tend to attack other users in a defamatory way.

There is no indication that a similar bill could succeed in the U.S. given the argument that the Defamation Bill may be violating the right of free speech, even if the free speech of some is harming others.

"Already there have been quite a lot of prosecutions for trolling but we actually think the public are entitled to proper protection against it," justice secretary Ken Clarke said in a statement. Clarke believes that a new defamation law could "strengthen freedom of expression by ensuring that material was not taken down from the internet without the author being given an opportunity to defend it", according to a FT article.

Of course, one could easily argue that online defamation should be held to the same standards as defamation in the real world, which would give Clarke's bill substantial grounds to succeed. Common sense suggests to treat others with respect and if you don't, there will be consequences to go along with it. If you engage in defamation in the real world, there may be legal consequences. Soon, there could be consequences online as well.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    Parrdacc , June 15, 2012 3:40 PM
    So what or who determines defamatory? What is defamatory to one person is nothing more than big talk to another. There are tons of people out there just looking to take what a person says and find a way to use it to attack them on any level (politicians come to mind); and these same people tend to be the ones who cry defamatory if you just plain disagree with them. While others just wave them off as blowhards and nothing more.
  • 14 Hide
    Plasticjesus690 , June 15, 2012 4:57 PM
    Why the hell is everyone a victim these days
  • 11 Hide
    Crush3d , June 15, 2012 4:05 PM
    Wait, people take online comments seriously?

    Oh god.
Other Comments
    Display all 30 comments.
  • 16 Hide
    Parrdacc , June 15, 2012 3:40 PM
    So what or who determines defamatory? What is defamatory to one person is nothing more than big talk to another. There are tons of people out there just looking to take what a person says and find a way to use it to attack them on any level (politicians come to mind); and these same people tend to be the ones who cry defamatory if you just plain disagree with them. While others just wave them off as blowhards and nothing more.
  • 7 Hide
    Kamab , June 15, 2012 3:50 PM
    The people thinking about this law need to study the Streishand effect. No better way to spread a bad story about yourself then by sending legal threats to the author. Don't courts already have enough bad litigation to try to make decisions on?
  • 11 Hide
    Crush3d , June 15, 2012 4:05 PM
    Wait, people take online comments seriously?

    Oh god.
  • 14 Hide
    Plasticjesus690 , June 15, 2012 4:57 PM
    Why the hell is everyone a victim these days
  • 10 Hide
    skaughtz , June 15, 2012 5:08 PM
    YOUR ARTICLE IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD!
  • 5 Hide
    hoof_hearted , June 15, 2012 5:09 PM
    I guess the online "bully" is going the be next big pc villain
  • 6 Hide
    LongLiveRock1974 , June 15, 2012 5:50 PM
    What a shame. Listen, if you can't put on your big boy pants when posting a comment, don't post. I shouldn't be held accountable for hurting your feelings. I think 40% of trolling is entertaining and some people deserve it for being retarded.
  • 5 Hide
    zetzabre , June 15, 2012 5:53 PM
    In other words: "Ignorance in UK grows again".
  • -2 Hide
    nekulturny , June 15, 2012 6:29 PM
    @Parrdacc

    At least in the US, a jury of 12 of your peers do. As is the custom, you make it sound like it would be something new.....
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 15, 2012 6:30 PM
    Why is this even an issue?

    Posting a comment should be no different then saying something on the phone, or in a newspaper, or writing something in a book, or any other form of speech. There are already defamation laws on the books, why do we need more?

    As long as you attack the ideas in an internet reply, you can call them stupid all you want. Just dont attack the author and post false things about them and you are fine. What normal person does this anyway? I never have in the 10s of thousands of posts ive made on the internet...its not hard.... Which is no different then any other form of speech i use.
  • -5 Hide
    alidan , June 15, 2012 6:32 PM
    longliverock1974What a shame. Listen, if you can't put on your big boy pants when posting a comment, don't post. I shouldn't be held accountable for hurting your feelings. I think 40% of trolling is entertaining and some people deserve it for being retarded.

    harsh words but true... there are very few cases in which your opinion is a unerversal truth for everyone, and should be ready at all times to get mocked and made fun of by everyone else who doesn't share that view.

    case in point, a person was writing a story, he mentioned that he believed in a religion that was in a zelda game or something (details there are vauge because i wasnt part of the conversation) but needless to say, a clearly fake religion, and got mocked, so he rage quit writing the storys.

    if you do anything, prepare to be mocked.
  • 5 Hide
    nekulturny , June 15, 2012 6:37 PM
    It seems to me the biggest abusers of others are the ones who think they should have the right to do so. There already is law in place to show that obviously free speech has limits and consequences. I can't legally walk into a building and yell "FIRE!!!", if there is no fire. And I can't legally put posters up around my neighborhood that somebody is a child molester if its not true.

    To do such a thing would open me up to both criminal and civil litigation, AS WELL IT OUGHT TO. Why is this so hard to comprehend that the same laws should apply to cyberspace?
  • 4 Hide
    nekulturny , June 15, 2012 6:40 PM
    Quote:
    case in point, a person was writing a story, he mentioned that he believed in a religion that was in a zelda game or something (details there are vauge because i wasnt part of the conversation) but needless to say, a clearly fake religion, and got mocked, so he rage quit writing the storys.


    Some would argue that ALL religions are fake, and people have the right to believe that as well. But there are lines that can be crossed. There is a difference between respectful debate and legal harassment.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 15, 2012 6:45 PM
    I never realized that websites were responsible for the comments posted by users. That is the law they need to change. Any website that gives out user information based on trolling comments is going to find itself quickly losing users. I'm not usually a troll, but I'm sure that I've defamed at least a few companies over the years.
  • -2 Hide
    leongrado , June 15, 2012 6:50 PM
    I think dealing with trolls would really be an excellent skill to have for this generation.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , June 15, 2012 7:19 PM
    For those urging thicker skins, or those parsing nuances of defamation -- how do you feel about death threats. I've seen several of these in newspaper comment sections here in Vancouver, and there seems to be no law or will to do anything about them.
  • -4 Hide
    akamrcrack , June 15, 2012 7:28 PM
    Soon I'll be able to hack myself onto peoples accounts, go around flaming/trolling the spit out of everyone in site (pun), and sit back and watch that person who's account I stole get sued/fined/imprisioned for the lulz.

    Most epic form of trolling yet.

    Thanks UK, I needed a new way to troll people.


    /e I love how they claim to be able to know exactly who you are when posting a comment on a forums. Like they have any possible means to know how to identify who is who to know who to send the bill to. Same thing as to how US government no longer connects citizens to an I.P. address since anyone can be on your I.P.. Same concept.

    I suspect the UK government is trolling people.

    So much so that people will start trolling people into making rage comments getting them sued over something they were trolled into saying and or hacked accounts getting taken over by spam bots to get sent to forums/threads to spam hateful/racist/ignorant/dissrespectful/distasteful/illegal content.
  • 0 Hide
    kuharski , June 15, 2012 8:17 PM
    Good
  • 3 Hide
    svdb , June 15, 2012 8:22 PM
    Crush3dWait, people take online comments seriously?Oh god.
    How about I go around the web suggesting to anyone who wants to hear it that you're a child molester, and then let see if you're able to keep your reputation and your job for very long. ;) 
    You'd suddenly start to understand and to care about the whole concept of "defamation".
  • -4 Hide
    zetzabre , June 15, 2012 8:33 PM
    So, you take online comments seriously. You are really ignorant.

    Now, if you don't know, in civilized countries with fair laws, if someone discriminates you or fire you just for online (and unproved) comments from the internet (or other sources), you can sue the company or people for that.

    Ignorant people judge with comments. Smart people judge with proved facts.
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