Friday, 27 August 2010

SPEECH Act may be tested soon

Earlier this month, the US approved a new law against so-called 'libel tourism,' the practice of suing US companies in foreign jurisdictions (quite frequently, the UK) which do not have the same level of free speech protections. This new law, the SPEECH Act (Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage), may now get put to the test. Techdirt reports that UK lawyers, acting for a client named Jeffery Morris, have demanded the entire Techdirt site shut down due to unidentified comments on a 2004 Techdirt blogpost that upset Mr. Morris.
Techdirt says "As such, given the newsworthy nature of an example of where the brand new law (thankfully) protects us, as well as the fact that we do not feel it is decent or right for anyone to demand we shut down our entire site or be sued halfway around the world because he does not appreciate a comment someone made about him, we are publishing the letter that was sent to us. Thanks in part to the new law, we have no obligation to respond to Mr. Morris, his friend or the lawyers at Addlestone Keane, who (one would hope) will better advise their clients not to pursue such fruitless legal threats in the future. Should Mr. Morris and his solicitors decide that they wish to proceed with such a pointless and wasteful lawsuit against us, which will only serve to cost Mr. Morris significant legal sums with no hope of recovery, we will continue to report on it, safe in the knowledge that it has no bearing on us."

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