How do I make a successful right to be forgotten application
Google’s latest right to be forgotten report on UK removals reveals that 3 out of 5 requests for delisting web content from its search results are being refused. This is nearly 61% refusal rate.
Why some right to be forgotten applications have a much higher likelihood of success then others?
We have examined the main reasons for Google refusal to delist and it is clear that there are common error made in the right to be forgotten application. Find out here about the 3 most common reasons for Google rejecting right to be forgotten applications
On 5 June 2015 we made a bit of a history by having obtained permission to serve the first harassment injunction on an anonymous internet troll via Instagram. We represented the Claimant in the case of DDF v YYZ before HHJ Nicol J at the High Court.
The Defendant activated a series of Instagram accounts through which he terrorised the Claimant for over a period of 3 weeks by constantly posting racial and sexual abuse.
The Claimant sought an Order to be permitted to serve the claim for harassment and the injunction on the Defendant via Instagram.
CPR r. 6.15 provides for service by an alternative method or at an alternative place, where there is a good reason to authorise service by a method or place not permitted by the relevant part of the CPR. The application must be supported by evidence and may be made without notice.
The most important purpose of service of an injunction and a claim for harassment is to ensure that the contents of the documents are communicated to the Defendant, in this case an internet troll who defamed, harassed and breach the privacy of the Claimant.
On behaf of the Claimant we sought an urgent injunction against the Defendant because further and more widespread harassment and/or disclosures of private information were threatened. The Defendant was not identifiable so the only means of contact which with him was Instagram.
The judge accepted that the combination of the urgency and the unusual method of communication used meant that there was good reason for the Court to authorise service of the harassment claim and the injunction via Instagram.
The service itself presented a new challenge. We had to create a number of high resolution images to make sure the content fits with Instagram’s requirements and that it was readable. It was also important to obtain proof of service of the harassment claim and the injunction because unlike email, once an Instagram user deletes their account, the evidence of communicating to them also disappears. You must therefore be able to take
screenshots of the service very quickly before the Defendant deleted the account. And thirdly, the only practical method of serving the injunction and the harassment claim was by using a smart phone which meant the use of Microsoft SharePoint was helpful as it downloaded all the relevant files to the smartphone and made them easily accessible for service.
I believe this was the first case in the UK (and am told in the USA too, by my American internet law colleagues) of service on an injunction via Instagram. You can read more service of injunction via Instagram
Paul Britton, a web designer who created websites to defame his own client pleaded guilty last week at Kingston Crown Court to one count of harassment of his own client. The Judge told Britton that his offence could attract a jail sentence, it was reported by the Evening Standard. The conviction was possible after the UK based law firm Cohen Davis Solicitors secured evidence linking Mr Britton and his company Origin Design to the defamatory posts through legal action in the USA.
Paul Britton, of Turnham Green Terrace Mews, Chiswick, is also a director of a web design and internet marketing company Origin Design. He created a campaign of defamation and intimidation against his own client, falsely describing him as a paedophile, following a dispute over a small amount of money.
Britton is not the first web designer to do such thing. Our defamation lawyers dealt with about 6 similar cases last year. Professional web designers who engage in such dubious practices tend to know their way around the internet, which makes it easier for them to avoid detection and to ever be brought to justice.
The police is often unable to assist the victims because the quality of the evidence that a serious and expensive criminal investigation might produce is not likely to meet the required standard of proof in criminal courts which is “beyond reasonable doubt”.
In the case of Paul Britton it took extraordinary efforts to be able to prove the web designer’s guilt. …Read in full on Defamation Legal Advice blog
The Ministry of Justice has proposed new measures to help individual victims of defamation take on big corporations. The new measures are due to be implemented during the spring of 2014.
Currently, losing claimants in England and Wales are ordered to pay the winning side’s legal bills, on top of their own, which means many individual victims are too scared to bring a claim just in case they lose.
Under the new plan, some losing claimants in defamation cases will only be responsible to pay their own legal bill even if they don’t win the case.
There will be a new ‘one-way’ costs order that Judges will be able to issue to ensure that individual claimants are put off by having to pay the other party’s legal costs.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said:
Defamation and invasion of privacy can have a devastating effect on lives and it is crucial that people, whatever their means, can stand up for their rights in court, even when they are facing a wealthy opponent who can afford to appoint a team of expensive lawyers.
If you or your company are defamed online it is important not to click on the link where the defamatory material appears. It is best not to share the link with anyone else and if you do share it, keep the number of people you share the defamatory link with to a bare minimum. Even when you explain to others that clicking on the defamatory link will add to the website’s popularity, people may still not be able to resist to check it out for themselves.
Search engines give priority to websites that attract the most traffic so remember that every click counts!
Many victims of online defamation do not know what to do when they have discovered that they are being defamed online. It is essential to act appropriately so that you do not cause further damage to your reputation.
I have put together 5 simple steps to follow for those who have found themselves victim of internet defamation. These effective actions will ensure that you are taking the right steps to dealing with the defamation quickly and effectively.
1) Be discreet. Try and tell as few people as possible about your online defamation issue. The more people you tell the more popular the link will become resulting in it to be placed higher on search engines. Although you may automatically want to tell family and friends try not to because … read more and the other 4 tips on our new social media solicitor at Cohen Davis blog.
Have you ever eaten in a restaurant and not been completely satisfied with your visit? Maybe the food was not what you had expected or the service was not up to your standards.
Perhaps you then decided to write an online review to warn others. Did the owner of the restaurant then commence a campaign of harassment against you referring to you in a defamatory manner?
This is exactly what happened to Elayna Katz, a 42 year old woman who had wrote an online review about Mambo Nuevo Latino restaurant in Ottawa, Canada. The owner, Marisol Simoes then hit back at the review and started a 2 year campaign to humiliate Katz. She branded Katz as a “lonely, unstable, sexually insatiable transsexual”. Simoes had also set up a dating site under Katz’s name and sent various emails impersonating her. Katz described this ordeal as a very embarrassing time.
Simoes was then charged by Ottawa police under Canada’s defamation laws which are rarely used. She was found guilty of 2 counts of libel and was sentenced, facing up to 5 years in prison.
This further highlights the dangers of posting an online review and the defamation it can prompt. In this case it was the owner of a restaurant who was harassing a reviewer but in other cases online shoppers might be targeted with internet defamation. See our blog post Is Amazon a compassionate organisation?
Some people forget how important it is to carry out a thorough risk analysis prior to deciding on the most appropriate response to internet defamation. Here is a quick guide to how we suggest it is best to carry out risk management when it comes to responding to internet defamation.
Find out as much as you possibly can about the capacity of the individual or company which are responsible for defaming you online. Are they a blogger? A “professional” self-appointed individual? Are they a competitor? The more you understand about their practices, motives and technical and financial abilities the more accurate and effective your response to internet defamation would be.
Calmly evaluate the risk to your business by first refraining from taking any particular action. Never act impulsively or upon advice which is not based on proven experience and understanding of the issue. Carefully consider the best, worst, and most likely consequences of the various options which are available to you to defeat the defamation on the internet.
Consider all your available solutions and in particular the legal, technical and social solutions to the defamation issue and always look at the big, long term picture.
Develop a strategy based on all of the above and never react sporadically.
Follow this simple guide because it is important that you get things right first time round as there might not be a second chance.
Defamation lawyer Yair Cohen advises to remove emotions from any response to internet defamation.
You may have suddenly discovered that there is something defamatory written about you or your company over the internet. You may, perhaps out of anger, respond to that post without thinking through the long-term consequences. If so, you may have just made the situation a thousand times worse with serious long term implications to your organisation.
It is not always a good idea to respond to negative comments on the internet. Although you may feel the immediate urge to defend your reputation, consider your reaction carefully. If you decide to respond, you will need to plan what you say and ensure that anything that you do say will not cause you greater problems in the future. Defamation lawyer Yair Cohen says that the last thing you probably want to do is to enter into a never-ending dialogue with your accusers.
It is best to avoid using explicit language or to come across as defensive. If you are responding on behalf of a company you will have to be aware that whatever you say may have a huge effect on the company’s reputation and even on its share prices.
Responding to negative comments could attract search engine results to the original defamatory post. This means the comments you do not want people to see will become more visible on the web, drawing more attention than if they were simply left alone. This would then seriously damage your reputation, or your business, which could lead to huge consequences.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t gamble. Obtain professional advice immediately as you become aware of the defamation on the internet and follow it through.
The idea of removing bad webpages will be an attractive option for many. The Internet Law Centre specialises in internet defamation and how you can remove bad web pages. Read more on web page removal via Defamation Solicitors: Website Removal.
It is very common for the victims of internet defamation to know the culprit. Here is a short example of how events from the past can turn out to haunt you in the future:
Frank Backerfield (not his real name), a famously successful English entrepreneur in the entertainment industry, recently saw an incident from his past make a nasty reappearance for the sole purpose of completely destroying him.
You see, when Frank was a bit younger, he used to be…Well, let’s call him a playboy.
A handsome devil, he travelled around the world telling rich women that he loved them, when actually he just wanted to have some fun or spend their money. Apparently, he left a number of broken-hearted women crying their eyes out in fancy hotel rooms, expecting them to foot the bills and forget about him as quickly as they had fallen in love with him.
At the time, none of the parties involved believed they would ever meet again. Most of the women he engaged with had no desire to ever hear his name again, let alone reunite. After a number of years of messing around, Frank had had enough, and decided to go straight.
With his little savings he opened a small night club. He managed it so successfully that within a couple of years, it was earning him a fortune. He then opened four more clubs around London and eventually became an established and respected figure in the UK entertainment industry.
Frank even got married–to Claire, a lady from Middlesex–and they lived in harmony with their four children in a lovely Essex country home.
Then one day, Frank received a phone call from a trusted friend, asking him if he knew a lady by the name of Laura Park, from Canada.
The name did ring a bell, but Frank was unable to recollect specific details. The friend then advised Frank to do an internet search of his name.
Internet Law Solicitor explains how to use blogs to remove internet defamation.
Blogs offer the quickest way to push down bad web pages. Websites are mostly static whilst blogs are dynamic. They change continuously and tend to include fresh content and up to date information. Therefore Google tends to rank blog pages higher on search results and this can be achieved very quickly. For these reasons blogs provide a very handy tool to help you remove defamatory internet pages from public view. The process is simple. All you need to do to effectively use blogs to remove bad internet pages is follow this simple guide which covers the 5 most important elements of web page removal. The 5 elements are:
1) Blog name – give your blog a name which contains the offending search terms or search words for example,” defamation solicitor”.
2) Article title – create one or more blog posts which contain the offending search term eg, “defamation solicitor”.
3) Tags/categories – add to your blog 4 to 5 tags (tags are sometimes called labels) the tags should contain variations of the relevant search term.
4) Content – write out the original content for your blog post. The content should include the relevant search phrase as well as variations of it.
5) The blog web address (URL) – replace the default web address which would be something like defamationsolicitor.blogspot.com with defamationsolicitors.com or even better with a .co.uk address.
The important thing to remember is that throughout this process you should remain focused on the search word that brings up the bad webpages in the first place.
Your new blog should appear on the first page of Google search results within a few days and sometimes even sooner. To find out more about how internet defamation may affect you follow the link or read more on the Defamation Solicitors blog.