Website laws

  Fateful Shadow 19:57 26 Jun 2004

I know that the Internet is all about free expression of views and ideas...well, I think it is...but are there any real laws, like if person A wrote something offensive about person B online, could person B do something?


  GANDALF <|:-)> 20:03 26 Jun 2004

Slander, libel and copyright laws have as much force on the net as off. Libel and slander are notoriously costly and difficult to prove; anyone wishing to do so needs deeeeeeeeep pockets ;-))


  Dorsai 20:06 26 Jun 2004

But if you are a nice person you dont say anything toooo nasty about someone else. and hopfully being a nice person you wont upset someone else to the extent they say someting nasty about you. The we end up as a lot of nice, polite, happy, problem solved people, who are living happily with each other..

  Fateful Shadow 20:09 26 Jun 2004

In an ideal world dorsai!

It's just that this person I know at school has created a website which points out several people as 'ugly' or words to that extent. I just thought that if the person were to see that then they could be offended and I wondered if anything could be done about it.

Thanks for the replies anyway :)

  Dorsai 20:19 26 Jun 2004

This person you mention...I occures to me that their opinion is not worth listing to. If they can't be nice sooner of later everyone else will realise that they are just plain 'nasty'.

Does their opion really matter to you? Do you think they are right? do you care what they think?

If you think their opinion sucks big time, why let it upset you..they are just plain wrong. sonner or later everyone else will realise this too.

If they are being personal about you, or someone you know/like, rise above it, they will have only achieved what they wanted if they get a reaction out of the person they are being nasty about/you..

if anyone askes say 'that' what a load of tosh, and you know it!

  GANDALF <|:-)> 20:26 26 Jun 2004

'Ugly' would be classed as an opinion and not libel/slander....I have seen much worse from school children.

To put it in context.......GANDALF <|:-)> is a thieving hound and steals from Waitrose and the £shop on a daily basis (libel); he is also having daily, illicit relationships with every woman in the local dressage/hockey/netball teams:-)) (slander) in spite of the fact he has a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp (personal opinion...and wildy untrue, naturally;-)) )


  Dorsai 20:30 26 Jun 2004

And anyone who knew gandalf would know that their face was not a bulldog chewing a wasp, and so would class the person who said it as not worth listing to... and anyone who did listen was also not worth listing too...and so on...

  carver 20:31 26 Jun 2004

If an individual starts a web site with the intention to cause harm to another person whether its physiological or with the intention to cause physical harm, then that person as Gandalf says had better have deep pockets.

  carver 20:36 26 Jun 2004

I didn't realise it was all true, how do you manage to fit them all in especially with all the shoplifting.

  Kate B 20:45 26 Jun 2004

You can be sued if there's something defamatory on your website - even if you didn't put it there. If, for example, I said forum member A was a lying toerag - and it wasn't true (truth is an absolute defence) - forum member A could sue PCA as well as me.

However, one of the judgments we make on newspapers when we get something lawyered is how likely is the person to sue. Some folk are notoriously litigious and you think long and hard about saying anything remotely dodgy about them. Needless to say, litigious folk tend to be rich folk.

However, if for example a Sunday tabloid ran a story about me that wasn't true and was defamatory (painted me as a scarlet woman who regularly played away, for example), even though the paper was indeed defaming me, it would be pretty safe from my lawyers as I don't have the money to launch a libel action - you don't get legal aid for it.

there are myriad defences you can use if you do end up in court, the two main ones being truth (forum member A turns out to be a lying toerag after all); and fair comment. So for example, I'm a newspaper critic and am presumed to know what I'm talking about and if I say scriptwriter X has churned out another useless episode of EastEnders, I'm basing that on my extensive knowledge of EastEnders and I would have to prove that scriptwriter X had written other obviously poor episodes in the past.

Fateful shadow, I suggest you point out to the person who's put the remarks up on his website that it's generally a bad idea to slag people off - he might well get away with it now but perhaps not when he does it to someone else.

Gandalf, both your untrue assertions are actually libel cos they've been published. Slander is verbal.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 20:46 26 Jun 2004

If the person had said something directly resolvable then there would be a case for libel/slander. It would have to be something that could be proven to be untrue by action or lack of (shoplifting, criminal record etc.) Calling someone a boss-eyed minger is an opinion and as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, cannot be proven by action, it would be difficult to prove that they were/were not ugly, so there would be no case. If they were called 'ugly OAP muggers' then there would be a case (for the mugging, not the lack of pulchritude).

Judging by some of the missing links that always seem to get married to stunners, I would not worry too much about people's opinions ;-))


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