By Dan Chapman
Full Contact Law has today revealed details of its innovative Internet Defamation Protection and monitoring service for clients in the sports or indeed any other high profile sector.
Increasingly, as is common knowledge, the unregulated nature of the Internet is resulting in defamatory posts on internet forums, blogs, Facebook groups and the like. Whilst freedom of speech and the right to express an opinion legitimately held remain cornerstones of the English legal system, the right to make or allow to be published libellous statements remains subject to the laws of defamation.
In March 2012, cricketer Chris Cairns was awarded £90,000 damages as a result of a defamatory tweet – the first case in England where damages for Twitter libel were awarded (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17512027).
An individual who posts defamatory remarks online can be subject to legal action, as happened in the Cairns case, but so too can the publisher of the defamation – which can include the forum, blog or website owner.
Whilst the ultimate sanction may be, as Chris Cairns did, to take legal action against the individual who defamed him online (and in appropriate cases we have and will take such legal action on behalf of clients) what in most cases the client wishes to achieve is a timely removal of the offensive material from the worldwide web. In many cases the defamer will have hidden behind an anonymous post or a pseudonym so more often than not it will be the host of the website, blog or forum that is pursued.
Full Contact therefore offers its retained clients the following Internet Defamation Protection service:
We use “Google Updates” to monitor the worldwide web on your behalf and bring to your attention adverse material or posts, and advise whether such might constitute defamation. We accept that Google Updates may not catch all so if you spot something yourself and bring it to our attention we will also investigate, advise and agreed initial action will also be included within our retainer
We will consult with you as to whether proposed legal action would be in your best interests (and in some cases we will propose alternative strategies and solutions) and where agreed send a solicitors’ letter (known as a Letter Before Action) to the publisher of the defamation/potential defamation (to include the website/forum/blog owner) and, if the identity is known, the author
We charge a fixed fee for this service of £250 + VAT per month which includes the cost of consulting with you, advising, drafting and serving one Letter Before Action in any month. If more than one Letter Before Action is required within a month these are also issued (with your instruction only) at fixed fees of £175 + VAT each
In the unusual event of a website owner failing to remove a defamatory post in a timely manner, or indeed if the offending post can be proven to have resulted in loss, we will be pleased to advise you of your options to litigate further to recover damages. Our team has a track record of high profile defamation successes. We can also advise on other non-legal solutions, including introducting you to IT experts who can assist and/or reputation management strategies. For those clients who face a one off problem and do not require the ongoing monitoring and support, we are able to assist on a fixed fee basis.
Online defamation matters. To ignore it is not an option for a client who wishes to maintain their good standing in their profession. Contact us for more details about this service, and the fixed fee charges.« EPPP – The Elite Player Performance Plan Paul McVeigh to run the London Marathon »
The spearhead and Senior Partner of Full Contact, Dan is an experienced solicitor and advocate, with a specialist background in employment law and sports.
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