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Defamation on my forum - am I liable?

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  • Defamation on my forum - am I liable?

    Hi everyone,
    I hope you are all keeping well during these crazy times! I also hope you can help me with some information.


    I run an online discussion forum similar to this one which relates to a particular musical instrument and related subjects. It's not a huge forum, with about 600 members of which around 150 are active each month. Members may be hobbyists, amateur or professional players, dealers and even the odd manufacturer.

    A few days ago a member who is a dealer in the far east created a thread complaining about and levelling accusations at a well known Italian manufacturer. The comments were pretty much matter-of-fact statements and were supported by photographic evidence of the claims being made. One or two comments about their professional integrity were removed by me as they go against forum policy. But the vast majority of the posts in the thread have been left intact as they do seem to be genuine and truthful.

    Yesterday the Italian manufacturer in question joined my forum and has demanded that I remove this thread, citing defamation. They had the opportunity to refute the allegations being made against them but decided against it. In private messages to me they have, in some instances, confirmed the issues raised by the dealer. I have refused to remove the thread in question unless I am asked to do so by the original poster (the dealer). The manuafcturer has stated that they will be taking legal action against the dealer, and have threatened the same against me unless I remove the offending thread.

    As the owner of the forum, do they have grounds to take legal action against me for refusing to remove this thread which I believe on the whole to be true and factual? I don't like being bullied (which is what I see this as), so any advice would be welcomed.
    Thanks
    Tags: None

  • #2
    See https://assets.publishing.service.go...n-guidance.pdf

    I like your pin shot
    I keep it with your letter
    Done up in blueprint blue
    It sure looks good on you
    And when you smile for the camera
    I know I'll love you better

    Then the shutter falls
    You see it all in 3-D
    It's your favorite foreign movie

    'Peg'

    Donald Jay Fagen

    Comment


    • #3
      Brilliant! Thanks very much!

      Comment


      • #4
        One other question relating to this:-

        The complainant is in Italy
        The poster is in Hong Kong
        I, the forum owner, live in the UK
        The forum is hosted in Russia

        Which/whos jurisdiction would this come under?

        Comment


        • #5
          I suppose that technically an Italian could sue a UK forum owner in the UK, as somehow the UK legal system allows it. You may have heard the expression 'libel tourism'.

          But since the Defamation Act 2013 came into force forum owners have a lot more protection against complainants of statements made by 3rd parties. I assume that in your case the complainant knows the identity of the poster so all you need to do is pass on the complaint you received on to the poster (giving him the opportunity to remove the statements) and you're pretty much covered in terms of defence.


          I like your pin shot
          I keep it with your letter
          Done up in blueprint blue
          It sure looks good on you
          And when you smile for the camera
          I know I'll love you better

          Then the shutter falls
          You see it all in 3-D
          It's your favorite foreign movie

          'Peg'

          Donald Jay Fagen

          Comment

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