European blogs and British courts

21/06/2007 Written by Alberto Redi (halfmoon)

 Today, June 21st 2007, a strict reg­u­la­tion inte­grat­ing Europe’s ecom­merce laws with British Ter­ror­ism Act has come into law . Accord­ing to this reg­u­la­tion, the Elec­tronic Com­merce Direc­tive, in some cases a for­eign com­pany can be brought to jus­tice in the UK over blog post­ings that encour­age terrorism.

In the Ter­ror­ism Act, already intro­duced in 2006, it is pointed out that spe­cific police con­sta­bles can ask a blog’s oper­a­tor to remove those posts, remarks, com­ments which are con­sid­ered as poten­tially incit­ing to com­mit­ting ter­ror­ist acts.

The time left to remove the offend­ing post is two days. In case the dead­line is not respected, and in absence of a “rea­son­able excuse”, blog’s oper­a­tors and direc­tors could be charged with seri­ous accu­sa­tion and could face up to 7 years in prison.

The oblig­a­tion to com­ply with such law con­cerns the UK and com­pa­nies in the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEA), which includes 27 EU mem­bers plus Ice­land, Licht­en­stein and Nor­way. This means that blog post­ings pub­lished every­where in the EEA can be sub­jected to the action of British con­sta­bles, the reg­is­ter reports

The reg­u­la­tions also extend cer­tain pro­tec­tions of the E-​commerce Direc­tive to the Ter­ror­ism Act.Accord­ing to the reg­is­ter, the Elec­tronic Com­merce Direc­tive also applies to cases of copy­right infringe­ment includ­ing any “repeat state­ment”, which the Act defines as a state­ment ” for all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, to the same effect as the state­ment to which the notice related”.The Act says also that nobody can endorse a repeat state­ment unless he or she is ” aware of the pub­li­ca­tion of the repeat state­ment”.

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