Thursday, June 28, 2007
THREATENING LETTER FROM LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL TO GOOGLE (all the way across the pond in California, US of A, ed)
BY FAX: 00185 06182680
Blogger Legal Support
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy
We refer to our earlier e-mails and faxes and your e-mails in reply. The first is timed at 17 April 2007 20.41 UK time directed to Jeanette McLoughlin and the second is timed at 18 April 2007 8.24am UK time and directed to Michelle Kelly who had forwarded the original e-mail on behalf of Jeanette McLoughlin.
Firstly, we are surprised at the different content of the two e-mails. The e-mail timed at 20.41 invites detailed information from ourselves and indicates that upon receipt of that you will forward it on to the bloggers to notify them thecomplaint has been filed as it is their sole discretion to remove some content.
The second e-mail of 18 April is somewhat more blunt in that it is a total denial of liability based on Section 230[C] of the Communications Decency Act.Those two e-mails show inconsistency in your approach to this matter. However, in any event, we still believe that that is academic. The case of Godfrey -v-Demon Internet Limited QBD [I9991 4 All ER 342  3 WLR 1020;  QB201 clearly establishes liability on the part of your organisation for defamatory material which you continue to publish after you have been made aware of it.
This is not a matter to be left to the Administrator's discretion. You have your own responsibilities.Those employees of this organisation who anticipate the issuing of legal proceedings against those publishing this defamatory material are based in England and therefore would be availing themselves of remedies through the English Courts where the decision of Godfrey -v- Demon Internet Limited is of course binding.
In the circumstances, we require your confirmation by return that these sites will be closed down. By way of clarification, although we do not see that it should be necessary in view of the fact that your liability cannot be denied, we would offer the following information and response to the points raised in your e-mail of 17 April timed at 20.41 UK time :-
I. The URL information has already been provided in the headings to our exchanges of communication.
2. Those who anticipate the issue of proceedings reside in the UK and are british citizens.
3. The postings make very serious and untrue allegations about employees of this organisation and in some cases go as far as alleging serious impropriety on their part. (what's not true then? ed)
4. We have already informed you that these postings are defamatory and the defamation is actionable in the Courts of England and Wales pursuant to the Defamation Acts.
5. You have the writer's contact details in earlier e-mails and faxed documentation but for clarification it is Jeanette McLoughlin at Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH, Telephone NO. 0151 225 2540 and e-mail address is as shown below.
We note that you state that you require the contact information for the purposes of forwarding it to the Administrators so that they can contact us to "work out the dispute". We would once again stress that your obligation is a primary one to immediately cease your ongoing publication of this defamatory material.
Passing information on to the Administrators and asking them to deal with it will not remove that responsibility from you.
Assistant City Solicitor
Livorpool City Council (sic, ed)
FINANCE & LEGAL SERVICESDX:712361
Room 209 Municipal Buildings,
Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH
tel: 0151 225 2540 fax: 0151 225 2392
(What's the defamatory material then? ed)