Legal Question in Technology Law in United Kingdom

Possible Slander on USENET


I feel I have been slandered on a Usenet Newsgroup '�. My e-mail address for use in Usenet is [email protected], using the name 'Luke' or 'Luke B'.

Co-incidentally, another user using the name 'Luke' and similar e-mail address and unknown to me has asked a question regarding to the use of drugs. I consider myself a responsible user of Usenet and am totally against the use of drugs, so I posted to distance myself from this other user. I did this because in the past, I have asked for and given occasional responsible advice in this group.

However, one particular user of the group has decided in his mind and through incorrect analysis of message headers to claim I am the same person in public on the newsgroup. This has lead to repeated attacks on the group and even a labelling as a criminal. I therefore intend to take some legal advice concerning taking action against this person. I have all details of his e-mail address, posting route and modem identity from his posts. I have also complained to his ISP who is the same as mine.

What is normal procedure for raising action against one who has slandered someone on USENET please.


Asked on 4/16/03, 6:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Howard Richard Howard & CO

Re: Possible Slander on USENET

If the posting relates to you, is by its nature defamatory and it is a publication in the same way as paper and an action for damages in Libel will lie against the author and "Publisher" ie the ISP unless it is clear that the ISP does not excercise control over messages.

in order to make a claim you need look at the pre action protocol for defamation on the Civil Procedure Rules web Site. This sets out the requirements. The author should make an offer to make amends.

If he doesn't you will need to identify the person to proceed with a claim against him. If they have not already done so the ISP should be requested to remove the defamatory material from the site.

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Answered on 4/16/03, 7:49 am

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