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The Courts Your Rights Online

UK Court Order Served Over Twitter, To Anonymous User Posing As Another 205

SpuriousLogic spotted this story on the BBC, from which he excerpts: "The High Court has given permission for an injunction to be served via social-networking site Twitter. The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger. The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney. The order says the Twitter user is breaching the copyright of Mr. Blaney. He told BBC News that the content being posted to Twitter in his name was 'mildly objectionable.' Mr. Blaney turned to Twitter to serve the injunction rather than go through the potentially lengthy process of contacting Twitter headquarters in California and asking it to deal with the matter. UK law states that an injunction does not have to be served in person and can be delivered by several different means including fax or e-mail."
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UK Court Order Served Over Twitter, To Anonymous User Posing As Another

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  • by seifried ( 12921 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:26AM (#29614287) Homepage
    So what about all the other Mr. Blaney's? Or am I missing something about specifically what copyrighted material is being infringed?
  • Jurisdiction? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bogidu ( 300637 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:33AM (#29614323)

    IANAL, but if the person in question is not a UK citizen, does the UK law, which says the injunction can be sent by fax or email, apply?

  • by Capsy ( 1644737 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:35AM (#29614337) Journal

    If the real Mr. Blaney has a problem with this, he should consult the person himself. That's not say he has a case anyways, as your name, as long as it isn't being used illicitly, is free for anyone to use. For example, the was a real James Bond, and Ian Flemming simply used his name for a character in his books and movies. The real Bond sent him a letter telling him it wasn't right, and Flemming replied with "Feel free to use my name for anything you wish." Flemming was not in the wrong, because for all intensive purposes, he wasn't portraying the real person. Regardless of this, Blaney cannot complain because, regardless of the fact he's in politics, no one listens to these fools posing as other fools. I still remember the Jessica Alba page on Xanga...

  • by chicane ( 38348 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:44AM (#29614371)

    Disclaimer : IANAL , But I'm smarter than some so called legal professionals who put disclaimers at the end of the text NOT the beginning - duh!

    I believe its a discretionary power of the court and as such is done by application typically with supporting evidence that normal methods have been tried without success or that they are less applicable due to the location of party.
    (I had occasion to help provide the supporting evidence which led to such a succesful application)

  • by feedayeen ( 1322473 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:47AM (#29614381)
    What if Donal Blaney is his real name? Or better yet, since names can apparently be copywrited, what if the Twitter Donal Blaney is older than the Donal Blaney at Blaney's Blarney? Can the Twitter Donal Blaney sue the other one to force him to change the name of his blog?
  • by Psyborgue ( 699890 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:57AM (#29614419) Homepage Journal
    Actually, "Anonymous coward" is exactly the term the real Blarney actually used on his blog [], writing "I successfully obtained, thanks to the masterful advocacy of Matthew Richardson, in the High Court today compelling an anonymous coward to stop pretending to be me on Twitter and to reveal his or her identity.".
  • by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:03AM (#29614443) Homepage Journal
    His blog. []

    Now go comment internet and Donal. May anonymous never find offense with what you are doing, or this might just be throwing water onto scalding oil.
  • Sued? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by siloko ( 1133863 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:04AM (#29614449)
    Nice rant but the twitterer is being served an injunction [] and not being sued at all . . .
  • Re:Copyright? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Psyborgue ( 699890 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:34AM (#29614529) Homepage Journal
    You can attempt to trademark your own name, but it rarely holds up in court, especially against the many fair use defenses. I should know. I run a website that had to deal with a WIPO dispute [] from a woman claiming her name was trademarked (decision here [], full details and all case files here []). Her argument was similar that a person could misunderstand my site to be hers, but even if that were true, there are cases dealing with that specifically, finding it to be acceptable for public comment purposes (form of protest). One of the funny things is she registered the mark only after I put up the website about her.
  • Re:Copyright? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:53AM (#29614585) Homepage

    Trademarks are not the same thing as copyright. Copyright covers creative, intellectual, scientific, or artistic forms, or "works". Names are generally not considered to be part of that. Even if there was a possibility of having a copyright on a name, this guy wouldn't own the copyright, but his parents do. They "created" the name.

  • by bonhomme_de_neige ( 711691 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @06:25AM (#29615035) Homepage

    Don't delete them. Instead, open hundreds or even thousands of accounts in your own name, all with bogus and different info. Write a little script to randomly trawl other people's accounts for messages/photos/etc and copy them at random to your own hundreds of accounts, as if they were real postings. Noone would know the difference. Then if your employer/the police/whoever tried to dig up any dirt on you, it would be buried among such a volume of spam that finding it would be a Herculean task.

    No doubt the social networking sites would try to shut you down somehow, but surely on Slashdot noone has to explain how to cover your tracks well enough to make it unreasonably difficult for them.

    And best of all - Facebook and Twitter can keep reporting in the press "Look, our membership base is growing by a x million accounts a day! At this rate, we will have more subscriptions than there are people on the planet in just a few months! Advertisers flock to us!" ... everyone wins!

  • Re:Sued? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@g m a i l . com> on Friday October 02, 2009 @07:51AM (#29615289)

    Nevertheless, how do you take legal action against people you don't even know what country they're in?

  • The real question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:25AM (#29615847)

    How many tweets does it take to serve an injunction? Breaking down legal verbiage into 140 character chunks must be a job in itself.

  • by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:00PM (#29619357) Journal
    i need to get a life? bro it sounds like you and your friends need to get some lives i mean fuck facebook isnt supposed to be life its supposed to supplement life to make it easier like knowing when to meet up with people and whats going on but i guess that concept is too foreign to /.ers who just cant get their heads out of their asses that a real world exists off of the computer and people who partake in it like using technology to assist them

    seriously /. is full of luddites and everyone who says "im cool with email :smug:" is just like people saying "im cool with real mail :smug:" when email first hit the mainstream scene.. get over yourselves and understand that some people have lives and friends that are off of the internet and that until you experience that, your stupid perception of social networking (just like social anything) is fundamentally flawed and worthless.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.