Thursday, January 25, 2007

Blogging Is Global In Nature, Hence Is Its Litigation Global In Nature?

They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, so as I have no real formal knowledge of the law, any views I espouse probably would be ...

It's getting to be a little too much fun taking Tangents of the NST vs. Blogger (Jeff and Rocky) civil action. My earlier post pondered the risks of Pak Lah being partisan on this case. I now wonder if maybe Uncle Kali and co may have begun something that isn't quite within the realm of their 'control'.

Consider this. Blogging is global by nature. The audience is global, as witnessed by the global outpouring of support in addition to the international reporting of this case, cited even as a 'landmark' case by the over-exuberant. However, there are legalistically global implications also to the suing of Rocky and Jeff, in that:
  1. Their blogs, whilst by and large Malaysian by content, are hosted in servers abroad, potentially making them 'resident' within a foreign legal jurisdiction.
  2. Any income they derive from the blogs, either directly through advertising, or indirectly by incidentals, opportunities, etc, would also not only be from Malaysian sources, but from an international base and would typically be via off-shore facilitation (adsense, etc).
  3. The reputation held by these blogs are also international in nature, evident from the global awareness and commentary of the case, hence the owners risk critical cross-border defamation and all that that entails, whatever the outcome of this case.

So, is it too far a Tangent to imagine that whatever the outcome of this battle in the Malaysian courts, Jeff and Rocky may be able to seek legal recourse of some sort from a foreign court of law, almost of their choice?

So, could Jeff and Rocky even from now on lay a counter-claim of libel, defamation and loss of income through restriction in blogging activity in a US court due to their blogs being hosted and the income from advertising being facilitated by US entities?

And lets assume say a link is made between the case and happenings in Turkey, just an example mind you, could they take action in a Turkish court specific to the element of the case being cited?

Wow... this is great kung fu for us wee bloggers if it proves to be true...


Abol said...

Assalamua'laikum akhram,

This is an interesting argument.

My comments:

I am not a lawywer, but, based on my understanding defamatory claims need to consist of defamatory statement, publications and actual economic loss as a result of the defamatory statement. The statement should also be a false one and the defendant is aware of it.

The tenet of the claim centres around the plaintiff's reputational injury AND actual economic losses as a result of that reputational injury.

The court will also examine whether the statement was actually (i) defamatory (ii) its nature, libel or slander and (iii) whether the statement was published againts the legal defences for defamation action such as true reporting,public knowledge, qualified privelege etc etc.

In order words the claim is very very specific and of defined test and consequential events. Hence, I do not think that anyone who is served with a defamation suit can initiate a counterclaim based on loss of income as a result of publication injunction, if any.


Qualifier: This is purely a comment from a non legal person on the specific topic

A Voice said...

That was the first thing that came to my mind.

I actually posted it on my blog Another Brick in the Wall entry dated January 14th, entitled, "Freedom: The CHicken That Supress Story".

What I felt was an easy defence for Rocky was claim it is not his blog. It belongs to an e-mail so and so and so, then drag them in the US Court.

But Rocky was indeed a gentlemen to agreed to take responsiobility for it.

P/S We, your collegian, lost yr hp. We wud normally meet at Eastin and once D'sara Utama Starbuck. I'm supersenior to yr uncle, z. Last we saw was at yr dad's raya gathering. Call or sms us.

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