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Censorship United Kingdom Your Rights Online

Firm Threatens To Sue Consumer Websites For Harrassment 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that RLP, a legal firm that sues shoplifters on behalf of retail groups, has shown its ignorance of the Streisand Effect by attempting to censor The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and other consumer websites. RLP has accused CAB of harassment and is demanding that they and other consumer websites remove all 'defamatory posts' and publications. This is the latest salvo in a long running battle and although organizations like CAG (Consumer Action Group) have removed some offending posts, CAB and the Legal Beagles website are refusing to remove content and have accused RLP of trying to stifle reporting of adverse court judgments against them."
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Firm Threatens To Sue Consumer Websites For Harrassment

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  • hypocrites (Score:4, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:20AM (#40477229)
    So RLP is serving defamation writs to consumer groups, then immediately and publicly defaming them, claiming they launched a malicious and organised internet smear campaign against RLP...

    Also, pics-or-shens of the "death threats" RLP has "gotten".
  • meritocracy my ass. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:20AM (#40477231) Homepage Journal

    Another example how some new mega-powered version of the Peter principle is pushing all the idiots to the heads of these organizations. There seems to be incompetency in the top level of every organization right now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:27AM (#40477265)

    It's not theft. It's piracy. They aren't the same thing.

    Oh, wait. Sorry. That was just habit.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      It's not theft. It's piracy. They aren't the same thing.

      Oh, wait. Sorry. That was just habit.

      Shoplifters are just moving goods from one place (the shop) to another (their pockets). It's logistics, not theft!

  • by Zemran (3101)

    So if they can bully the watchdogs to remove any bad press, thereby leaving only good comments, they will be very happy...

  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:31AM (#40477293)

    Libel laws in the UK are very biased towards the prosecution.
    While RLP's tactics may offend your sense of fair play (they certainly do mine), what they're doing works much better in the UK than other commonwealth countries. Suing somebody for libel in the UK is a common tactic for people who know they have no case another jurisdiction--even when there is little or no justification for their preferred venue.

    In UK libel law, RLP has a big stick with which to beat its critics. The Streisand effect may direct a few more folks to the consumer websites--I certainly checked them out.
    But I'll bet the degree to which RLP is going to get them to permanently back is worth a little transient negative publicity.

    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:02AM (#40477511) Homepage Journal

      Libel laws in the UK are very biased towards the prosecution.

      You haven't studied UK law [1], you haven't been to the UK and you couldn't point to it on a map.

      Stop repeating what you hear other ill-informed idiots say and get some exercise, you fat bastard.

      [1] there's no such thing. Also if you had any legal knowledge you'd be aware that civil cases don't have a "prosecution".

      • Care to elaborate? I'd always understood that truth wasn't a defense (defence?) against an accusation of libel in the UK, and thus any damaging speech could be sued over - even if it was only damaging because the plaintiff earned it. This all makes it much easier to punish people for saying things you don't like, unlike in the US where it needs to be demonstrably false and demonstrably harmful.

        Am I wrong? If so, I'd love to hear how it actually works, instead of just calling people "fat bastards".

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I'd always understood that truth wasn't a defense (defence?) against an accusation of libel in the UK,

          It is a defence, but proving that something is true is not always easy. If you say something actionable about someone, it is up to you to prove that it is true, not the person suing you to prove it isn't.

          • It's worse than that.

            Under UK and related commonwealth countries law, the plaintiff accuses the respondant of making statements - even if the accusations are not true.

            The burden of proof is then on the respondant to _prove_ that the accusations are untrue, if the plaintiff has made untrue accusations.

            This is the only kind of litigation where you are guilty until proven innocent - and relying on truth or public interest as a defence does not mean that the findings aren't for the plaintiff.

            Defamati

  • by RattFink (93631) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:33AM (#40477309) Journal

    What they want taken down has nothing to do with defamation and everything to do with offering advise to people who have been sent demands by these people.

    Schillings also wrote to BWB, demanding that it take down from its own website its report of the Oxford court case in which it had acted for the two teenage girls.

    And Schillings even demanded that the CAB withdraw all its previous publications on civil recovery, including two reports published in 2009 and 2010 which are available on its website.

    The reports outline how flimsy their evidence can be and offers effective defenses. This is nothing more then a SLAPP action.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:43AM (#40477385) Journal
    Why, back in my day passing the bar was an effectively unfettered license to intimidate and extort practically anybody who couldn't afford the services of my colleagues.

    Now with these 'inter-tubes', and moron with an ISP can mock, castigate, calluminate, and generally disrespect me. ME a Respectable Businessman. How dare they? This madness must end.
    • Why, back in my day passing the bar was an effectively unfettered license to intimidate and extort practically anybody who couldn't afford the services of my colleagues.

      You laugh, but from the wife of Charles Carreon, the guy suing The Oatmeal [arstechnica.com]:

      "What kind of connections does someone have in the world to be this arrogant towards a lawyer?" she asked. "Think about it. Inman is WELL-CONNECTED! To me, that just means one thing: mafia."

      Can you believe the nerve of a peasant not to kowtow to a lawyer? Unthinkable!

      • As best I can tell, from her post history, she is either one of the finest trolls of the early 21st century, or in urgent need of a psych referral, with smart money on the latter...
  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @08:44AM (#40477389)

    And when they will be unable to present evidence that the harassing threats originated from CAB, hit them with a nice wrongful accusation suit.

    • by kommakazi (610098)
      Not just threats, but in the words of RLP's managing director, Jackie Lambert, "threats that threaten" Those are clearly the worst kind, as opposed to those non-threatening threats going around...
  • Shady Business Cries Foul on Consumer Rights Group

    bias? whatever do you mean? ;)

  • My Streisand is bigger than your Streisand. Troy had Achilles. We have ... Streisand. You know, you can't accuse someone of ignorance unless you know that they don't actually want that outcome. No wonder so many young men have trouble comprehending women: stated purpose is a weak omen.

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