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the Big Blog Company | Don’t try this at home
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
September 03 2004
Friday
Don’t try this at home
David Carr • Bloglaw 
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While roaming at large through the wild, borderless world of the internet, it is easy to forget that the real world we actually live in is anything but wild and borderless. Down here on the ground, jurisdiction matters.

Take, for example, Mr Alan Meckler who has been blogging away in the USA about the current litigation in which his company is engaged:

At a recent court hearing over the eMarketer case that I have referenced, I learned that the eMarketer folks have been using my blog entries in the court (See August 17, 2004). I can only presume that this action was taken to show that Jupitermedia means business when it comes to legal actions. I just re-read my recent entry “update” about the case and can find nothing alarming other than an objective report on where the case stands.

Mr. Meckler reminds us that the US judicial system is famously (or infamously, depending on one’s point of view) open on matters of publicity compared to its British counterpart.

Hence, UK bloggers should steer clear of following his example. Under UK law, reporting restrictions on court proceeds apply as a matter of course. Although the bar is set lower in civil proceedings than in criminal matters, once a case is underway the issue is sub judice and publishing details could land the blogger with a charge of Contempt of Court. In serious cases, this can lead to a custodial sentence.

The only safe way to publish details about court cases is to wait until after ‘disposal’ (i.e. the verdict).

And there is also a second important point to remember here, again as kindly illustrated by Mr. Meckler:

… I learned that the eMarketer folks have been using my blog entries in the court.

Remember that everything you blog can be taken down and used in evidence.

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