Civil Procedure

UK's High Court OKs Serving Injunction on Anonymous Blogger Via Twitter


In what reportedly is the first such use of the Internet authorized by any court in the country, the United Kingdom’s High Court has permitted an injunction on an anonymous blogger to be served via Twitter.

The injunction demands that the unknown blogger stop impersonating on the Internet a well-known lawyer, Donal Blaney, who is a prominent right-wing blogger, reports an IDG News Service article published by PC World. Blaney is the principal of Griffin Law, a firm of solicitors based in Hawkhurst, England.

The partner’s impersonator set up a Twitter account that featured Blaney’s own blog photo and links to Blaney’s own blog posts. Then he or she tweeted in a writing style that sounds like Blaney’s, the tech magazine article recounts.

Although parody can be legally permissible, the Twitter account was intended to make readers think the tweets were Blaney’s, he contends, and his lawyer, barrister Matthew Richardson, objected to the claimed impersonation on copyright grounds, according to the news service and a post on the law firm’s website.

Blaney says he sought the court’s permission to serve the injunction via Twitter because he figured this would be faster than waiting for the site’s California-based administrators to take down the offending account if he complained directly to them.

The judge who approved the Twitter service was familiar with the social networking micro blog site, Blaney said, and also noted a 2008 ruling by an Australian court that service could be made via Facebook, the magazine article explains.

“The rules already allow for electronic service of some documents, so that they can be sent by e-mail, and it should also be possible to use social networks,” solicitor Danvers Baillieu tells the BBC News.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com (2008): “In Seeming First, Aussie Court Says Default Judgment Can Be Served on Facebook”

London Times: “High Court to serve injunction through Twitter”

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