Feeds

Judge orders football website to name 'libellous' posters

Owls boss gets the hump over strikers and hookers dig

The Power of One Infographic

A UK judge has ordered a football fans' website to hand over details of posters who made potentially defamatory remarks about directors of Sheffield Wednesday. The move, in what's being viewed as a test case, has implications for the owners of, and posters on, other football chat websites.

Sheffield Wednesday club chairman Dave Allen, chief executive Kaven Walker and five other directors successfully sought the order against Neil Hargreaves, who runs the owlstalk.co.uk forum. They claimed Hargreaves offered a forum that allowed 11 as yet unidentified individuals to mount an anonymous and "sustained campaign of vilification" against them, the Metro reports.

Earlier this month, Allan launched a separate libel action seeking to force the BBC into identifying the names of two users of a Radio Five Live football forum, the UK Press Gazette adds.

The owlstalk case focuses on 14 postings made between July and August this year. Among other things one poster suggested the Owl's chief exec spent money on "hookers" and didn't know the difference between a rugby hooker and a football striker.

Deputy Judge Richard Parkes QC said the prostitute claims were unlikely to be taken seriously, but the suggestion that Walker was incapable of spotting a competent football player was more professionally damaging.

Judge Parkes said that some of the postings, although arguably defamatory, bordered on the trivial. The identity of posters who made remarks that were trivial or likely to be understood as jokes ought to remain under wraps.

"The postings which I regard as more serious are those which may reasonably be understood to allege greed, selfishness, untrustworthiness and dishonest behaviour on the part of the claimants," Judge Parkes said.

Disclosure orders were made by the judge regarding four postings by three users. In those cases the rights of posters to maintain their anonymity and express their feelings were outweighed by the the plaintiff's rights to protect their reputations, the judge ruled.

The judge ordered the club and directors to pay £9,000 in costs to cover Hargreaves’ reasonable costs of compliance with his order. Hargreaves sought almost £23,000. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles
Arrests people allegedly accessing child abuse images online
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.