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Seminars, interviews & commentary Articles from 2017
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Seminars, interviews & commentary    October 19, 2017  
A rare win for the Lange doctrine

The High Court’s upholding of the Lange implied free speech doctrine isn’t as surprising or straightforward as it appears … Media lawyer Graham Hryce finds the court’s reasoning fraught with legal complexity ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    October 17, 2017  
"Heroic" or just plain risky? Twitter's approach to proceedings backfires

Recent NSW Supreme Court-ordered Twitter takedown involving an anonymous tweeter has some interesting lessons, particularly for “foreign” online platforms … Simon Johnson and Freda Chan look at the judgment and its implications ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    October 10, 2017  
No clear result in law applying to search engines

The long-awaited decision from SA’s Full Supreme Court does little to clarify the perplexing issue of how a search engine is liable for defamation, writes Sydney University media law academic Professor David Rolph ... The judgment raises more questions than it answers in relation to publication, intention and knowledge ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    October 9, 2017  
Judge rejects sex offender's bid to censor Google searches

Interesting High Court (Belfast) decision sees sex offender who changed his name by deed poll fail in a bid to force Google to expunge the results of searches about his history of offending, including when he was a child … This report from Media Lawyer’s Mike Dodd ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    October 5, 2017  
2017 Media Law Resource Centre conference

Trump, Brexit, fake news, Max Mosley (in person), privacy, the “right to be forgotten”, libel reform, dazzling speakers and a whole lot of well-lubricated networking featured at this year’s Media Law Resource Centre conference in London … This report from News Corp Australia in-house counsel Larina Mullins ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    October 2, 2017  
The Fourth Estate and the Fake Estate: Brexit, Trump and the rise of populism

In this paper, presented at the September 2017 Media Law Resource Centre conference in London, NSW District Court Defamation List Judge Judith Gibson asks what recent political developments mean for the press and democracy in Europe and America, and how the press and judiciary should respond to the problem of “fake news” ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 29, 2017  
The exorbitant injunction in X v Twitter

The NSW Supreme Court has issued a global injunction enjoining overseas defendants to remove tweets of a corporate leaker … Sydney University media law academic Michael Douglas reviews the case, and the injunction ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 28, 2017  
Defamation law reform - Australia

The third edition of Defamation Law in Australia has just been published, with a new chapter on why the time is right for reform … This summary, by the book’s author Patrick George, details what could be modified or improved in light of the digital world and the law in practice ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 25, 2017  
Why defining the "public interest" is such a challenge

While the question of what constitutes the public interest – in journalism and in corporate conduct – is a tricky and mutable one, it should be addressed, writes Queensland University Associate Professor in Communications and Public Relations, Jane Johnston ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 14, 2017  
Seriously limiting serious harm

The protection afforded defendants by the introduction of a “serious harm” threshold in defamation cases has been significantly eroded in a recent UK Court of Appeal judgment … Nicola Cain analyses the decision and its consequences ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 14, 2017  
Costly case of celebrity aggravation

The record defamation damages awarded to Rebel Wilson constitutes “a very neat and effective way of bypassing the cap on damages”, says media lawyer Graham Hryce ... He also looks at the special damages and the massive cost – financial and otherwise – to Bauer Media ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    August 29, 2017  
Publishing for eternity: The legal and practical consequences of the multiple publication rule in defamation law

In this paper, presented at a recent UNSW defamation and media law seminar, News Corp Australia in-house counsel Larina Mullins reviews the history and application of the multiple publication rule in defamation law and concludes it is a “relic” in the digital age in urgent need of legislative reform ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    August 25, 2017  
Triviality, proportionality and a threshold of serious harm

Unique to Australian law, the defence of triviality was recently upheld by the QLD Court of Appeal in the “Dennis Denuto” case … In this paper, presented at the recent UNSW seminar on developments in defamation law, Sydney University’s Professor David Rolph looks at where triviality, proportionality and serious harm have featured in the Australian defamation context ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    August 23, 2017  
Recent developments in fair report of public proceedings and public documents

In this paper, presented at a recent UNSW defamation and media law seminar, barrister Richard Potter looks at the statutory and common law defences of “fair report” when applied to a “hybrid” account, how the defence has been recently narrowed and the issues in pre-publication legalling ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    August 22, 2017  
Is liking something on Facebook "protected political speech"?

Is “liking” something on Facebook protected political speech? It depends, says Monash University human rights academic Melissa Castan ... In this article, she examines recent public service guidelines and the case involving an army reservist dismissed for posting anti-gay comments ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    August 3, 2017  
Searching for defamation law reform

Who should bear liability for the publication of defamatory material via a search engine? UNSW media law academic Dr Daniel Joyce reviews the case law in Australia in light of UK law and an up-coming High Court consideration of the issues … There is an urgent need for clarity, and for statutory reform ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    July 23, 2017  
Questions of contempt

The Victorian Court of Appeal’s decision not to refer three federal ministers for prosecution of contempt raises unanswered questions about freedom of speech and the constitution … Sydney University Professor of Law and author Dr David Rolph asks whether the implied freedom of political communication applies to criticism of the judiciary ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    July 5, 2017  
Supreme Court of Canada upholds worldwide Google blocking injunction

Controversial judgment by the Supreme Court of Canada upholds worldwide injunction forcing Google to remove websites from search results … London-based media and information law specialist Hugh Tomlinson QC reviews the decision and its implications ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    June 14, 2017  
The year in Australian media law

Defamation law in urgent need of reform, mainstream media actions on the up, social media actions become a trend, suppression orders continue unabated, journalist shield laws appear to be working … Media lawyers Peter Bartlett and Sam White look at the past year ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    June 13, 2017  
New Zealand defamation law update

Since the beginning of 2016 New Zealand defamation law has seen some interesting developments in respect of the Jameel principle and the defence of qualified privilege … Wellington barrister Ali Romanos reviews the cases and the judgments ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    May 31, 2017  
Where did all the privacy injunctions go?

Official UK statistics for privacy injunctions are blindingly inaccurate and incomplete, says Dr Judith Townend of The Transparency Project ... The Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service need to do much more ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    May 16, 2017  
Mexican attorney receives apology and libel damages from the Guardian

Interesting case involving multiple republications and the liability of the original publisher results in damages and apology from the Guardian .... Persephone Bridgman Baker looks at how the law fails to deal with the rapid spread of information via the internet, and who’s responsible ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    May 8, 2017  
Music piracy site-blocking injunction granted

Copyright case brought by music industry against ISP companies is a further implementation of important new powers in the fight against piracy, says Sydney copyright lawyer Eli Fisher ... But will it result in lower rates of piracy? ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    May 4, 2017  
Automated censorship is not the answer to extremism

A recent (UK) Home Affairs Select Committee report into extremist videos and posts on social media has made “unbalanced” recommendations which threaten free expression, says Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    April 20, 2017  
Film review - "Denial"

The famous defamation action brought by Holocaust denier David Irving against American academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books has been turned into a “satisfying courtroom drama”, according to Sydney University Professor of Law and author Dr David Rolph ... The film has resonance in Australia too ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    April 12, 2017  
Social media, defamation and damages

The rise of social media platforms has not seen a concomitant increase in defamation actions in Australian courts … But what of the damages for social media defamation? ... The Gazette looks at the past four years ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    April 4, 2017  
Fake news and defamation war stories

Sydney’s media law fraternity gathered for a lively seminar on fake news, freedom of speech and defamation law … And to trade pre-publication war stories in a city bar … Reports from the front line ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 31, 2017  
Freedom of speech, fake news and alternative facts

In this paper, presented at the Law Council of Australia’s International Law Section seminar, NSW District Court Defamation List Judge Judith Gibson looks at the balance between freedom of speech and reputation in a post-truth, digital world … more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 29, 2017  
Imputations - should a jury consider them separately?

Is the time right for a return to a section 7A-style, split trial regime where the jury decides the issue of imputations separately? Barrister Bruce Connell examines some recent evidence in this paper, and argues that it would be most unwise ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 27, 2017  
When is a true imputation contextual?

Two very different interpretations of the contextual truth defence have emerged in recent decisions of the NSW Supreme Court … Media lawyer and author Patrick George attempts to make sense of the vexed issue of “pleading back” in theory, and in practice ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 24, 2017  
Businessman awarded damages for defamation and "sophisticated campaign of harassment"

Defamation and harassment on social media and on the street result in damages of £80,000 to a London businessman accused of murdering a TV presenter … David Hill reviews a judgment involving public interest, privacy, serious harm and reasonableness ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 22, 2017  
Twitter, defamation and "serious harm"

The recent UK Twitter libel case involving a food blogger and a controversial columnist highlights how current defamation law applies to the “Wild West” of social media … Sydney University Professor of Law and author David Rolph reviews the judgment in light of the “serious harm” test ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 14, 2017  
18C and D going nowhere fast

The parliamentary human rights committee report on sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act is unlikely to compel any change … Legal affairs columnist Richard Ackland explains why there is no political appetite (or popular support) for George Brandis’ “right to be bigots” ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 13, 2017  
Reasonableness - an issue for judge or jury?

Should reasonableness in the statutory qualified privilege defence be decided by judge or jury? In this paper, barrister Bruce Connell examines section 30 of the Defamation Act 2005 and concludes there are three bases on which the question should be determined by the trial judge ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 9, 2017  
Lange, free speech and culture wars within the ADF

No one should be surprised – especially media companies – that a former army reservist who posted vitriolic anti-gay and anti-Muslim material on social media is not afforded the protection of Lange, says media lawyer Graham Hryce ... It is a “fourth rate freedom” ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    March 6, 2017  
Suppression orders vs open justice

A recent high profile criminal case highlights how the wide use of suppression orders in Victoria is undermining open justice and strengthening the case for an open justice advocate, writes Melbourne University academic Jason Bosland ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    February 15, 2017  
UKIP MEP to pay 162,000 damages to three MPs over child abuse scandal remarks

UKIP member of the European Parliament to pay £162,000 damages to three Labour MPs over libelous comments she made at a party conference … Britain’s High Court rejects the defendant’s argument that her remarks were “political speech” ... The Press Association’s Jan Colley reports ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    February 9, 2017  
The future of news: Journalism in a post-truth era

Harvard University recently hosted a discussion on journalism and truth in the era of Trump … Luminaries from the print and online worlds offered no immediate solutions to the problems of “post-truth”, according to Hannah Ryan, who was there ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    January 31, 2017  
lnternet publication, liability and context

The recent Victorian Court of Appeal judgment involving Google illustrates the complexity inherent in applying defamation law to internet publication … Sydney media law academic Dr David Rolph explains why context is paramount ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    January 25, 2017  
Law reform should protect, not harm creators

The Productivity Commission’s recommendations for reform of Australian intellectual property law has not only failed to deliver protection for creators, they actually work against innovation … Sydney copyright lawyer Eli Fisher critiques the report ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    January 23, 2017  
New Zealand defamation law: 2016 in review

Political defamation cases featured in New Zealand in 2016 … As well as record damages and the Jameel doctrine … Wellington defamation lawyer Ali Romanos reviews the media law year that was ... more