Feeds

Demon coughs up damages in Godfrey libel case

Pays price for uncivil liberties

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Demon Internet has agreed to pay £15,000 to a scientist after failing to remove defamatory postings on newsgroups it hosted.

The UK ISP will apologise to Dr Laurence Godfrey, as well as paying his legal costs, which could top £250,000. Add in its own legal fees and Demon is facing a bill of half a million smackers.

Dr Godfrey alleged Demon had failed to remove defamatory material on a newsgroup it hosted. It related to a message posted three years ago on soc.culture.thai, purporting to come from him and containing damaging allegations of a personal nature. A second posting contained defamatory comments about Dr. Godfrey.

Dr Godfrey told the BBC: "I am happy with the settlement. I don't think there is a right, in fact I'm quite sure there's no right, to libel other people on the Internet, to concoct fabricated allegations and try to destroy people's reputations."

The case, which hinged on whether Demon could be treated as a publisher of the material, will have repercussions on other ISPs who will see it as a gagging order. Most host newsgroups and fear they could be found liable for any content posted by their users.

Demon estimates that one million individual articles are posted in more than 35,000 active news groups each day. All well and good. But before we climb too high up the civil liberties flagpole, it is useful to recall just how incompetent Demon Internet was in dealing with Dr. Godfrey. He informed the company several times about the postings. Demon failed to respond. Now it is paying the price. ®

Demon Internet statement

Dr Laurence Godfrey vs Demon Internet (Thus plc) Thus today announces that it has reached an agreement with Dr Laurence Godfrey, which brings to a close the two cases he brought against its Internet Service Provider brand, Demon Internet. We can now draw a line under this issue and focus on serving our customers and building our business. Concluding this matter in a reasonable way is in the best interests of the company and its customers. Thus remains convinced that the law has not kept pace with the development of the Internet and will work with our colleagues in the industry to lobby for modernisation of the law. Thus will press the Government for recognition that ISPs should not be liable for the millions of items carried on the Internet every day. While we take our obligations very seriously, and act when informed of any defamatory or unsuitable material, it is contrary to common sense to make ISPs responsible for the millions of items carried on the Internet.

Related stories

Demon libel loss could cripple free speech Clarification: libel case author not libel case author UK court rules on ISP liability

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.