Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones But Names Break the Bank

From the dept of the absurd:

judge granted a privacy injunction, meaning that English newspapers could not legally publish the name of a professional soccer player who allegedly had an affair, despite thousands of people who have reported the name on the social-networking site.

The reason here is, of course, because of legal liability. The UK has one of the most spectacularly aggressive libel laws in the world.

The intended consequence is, presumably, that people play together more nicely, but the unintended consequences are more interesting. Libel Tourism, for one.

Another is that, because libel is by definition printed, and most print is online, the Internet is making for some interesting legal theatre, as in the case above.

Score another massive point for Web 2.0. Because big firms are a big fat target, people sue them.

But that cost isn’t borne by the firms. Oh, no. It’s paid by the insurance companies who, in turn, raise rates for the entire media industry.

I was working on an account today and noticed that liability insurance for UK Media Firms is about 6x more expensive than the equivalent for Australia and Canada (no data for the US in my little trove).

Twitterers don’t pay liability insurance for libel cover because they can’t realistically be sued for libel.

This is obviously a margin at which power is being transferred away from Big Media and whatever coalition is blocking libel reform in the UK.

Yay for liberty.

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