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Getting sued for Linking




When they said you can get sued for linking to a libelous blog, some people do really mean it.

I was just informed that a website I’m previously connected with is being sued for linking out to a blog. Can’t share any more details for now and yeah, I know it’s a stupid thing to be sued for libel because you just linked to the offending source but that’s how it goes here in the Philippines. I know this case will be dismissed and all but the hassle of getting and paying for a lawyer is a pain in the neck and the pocket. We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out.

The clincher here is that it could have been me. Again! And to think I’m not yet through with my own libel case in the civil courts.

As for the previous case, one of the defendants posted a blog entry (dated March 19, 2008 at 1:04 am) about his own experience:

For those who do not know, I have been under legal fire during the past couple of years – late in 2006, someone sued me for libel over a string of allegedly defamatory comments posted in a private internet forum. Last year, I recieved a warrant of arrest and was temporarily held under the custody of the Makati Police (I was never jailed nor handcuffed for those who want to ask) and within that day I was able to bail out, with a scheduled arraignment in September. I asked for legal and financial assistance (we even did a benefit event) and was able to support my ordeal.


 

Reference to this case can be read by following these links:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view_article.php?article_id=68456

My case was dismissed last month over a technicality that questions the court’s jurisdiction of the case. In this case, records show that “the Prosecution failed to allege in the informations the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense” – and I just have to wonder at the fact that the alleged libelous comments were posted online and the website is hosted in a facility outside the country where different laws on libel apply. There will be a whole lot of definitions to go by in order to determine what should be applied in this case. Bottomline is, you cannot just sue someone for libel over a forum or blog post where the local trial court has no clear jurisdiction on the case.

Anyway, I am just thankful that this is over and I’m sure my co-accused is very much relieved as well. It’s a learning experience for me, and while I am still a strong advocate of freedom of speech and self expression, there is still the responsibility of exercising our freedom – in my case I got into a whole lot of trouble and was almost living dangerously. To the person who sued me, I can only wish that he would let go of all the anger in his system and be able to accept his own mistakes as well. I will admit that there has been some wrong in my part but I will make a stand on what is right and truthful. It is time to move on now and attend to more important matters, holding a grudge would only do more harm.

The blog’s domain has expired but I was able to get this from Google cache.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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22 Responses

  1. BrianB says:

    So, you can also get sued for linking to the site that linked that site that got it sued? Where’s the reference.

  2. yuga says:

    I think it’s just direct linking. It’s still debatable. But that debate is a very costly one.

  3. j4s0n says:

    Yeah, that sucks… Those suckers!

  4. BrianB says:

    I mean, which blog is that? Can you get sued for linking to the blog?

  5. Lyle, RN says:

    Bloggers should cover their bases by posting a terms of use on their blog.

    This is what I did on mine.

  6. BrianB says:

    Hey Encyclopedia Britannica online available free for bloggers.

    http://britannicanet.com/

  7. Another crazy thing – only in the Philipines!

    Ian del Carmen
    http://FireballPlanet.com

  8. Jeffrey says:

    Getting sued for linking to a questionable or libelous site doesnt only happened in the Philippines.

    It is also in the UK. A famous TV links site with a .co.uk extension was taken down by the British government. That tv links site only linked those pirated movies from another site.

  9. jhay says:

    I guess this is something scarier than being penalized by Google for selling links.

    Our laws really needs to be updated into the 21st century.

  10. BrianB says:

    Jeffrey, that one with TV-Links wasn’t about libel but pirating. Purveying of pirated intellectual property or something. Intellectual rights yun hindi freedom of speech

  11. mocs says:

    naku naman! what can poor and small bloggers do? we dont know when we will get a subpoena or something…better that I check my outgoing links now…hehe

  12. If you, heavens forbid, created a website solely of links to defamatory or libelous material, you could probably be sued, and lose, as a contributing accomplice; on the other hand, under any fair system of law, a website which links to another site for purposes of fair criticism, commentary, etc, should be ok…

  13. BrianB says:

    “naku naman! what can poor and small bloggers do? we dont know when we will get a subpoena or something…better that I check my outgoing links now…hehe”

    The last thing you want is to run scared. Lawyers are like dogs. They become more aggressive when they smell fear.

  14. JD Cruz says:

    Hi Abe,

    A few weeks ago, in France, a website that automatically lists (and links) the titles of the latest post of its members was fined a few thousand dollars.

    The court ruled that linking to libelous articles makes one responsible for spreading it.

    Regards,

  15. That kind of provision is not unique here. Besides, our laws were mostly drafted based on the existing laws of other countries.

    Can’t keep on blaming the Philippines as a first reaction. That is soooo unfair. This is your country too, you know.

  16. yuga says:

    @Pu, during an eCommerce forum I attended with DTI, CICT, PICs and NTC the other week, we discussed the problem of the adequacy (or lack thereof) of the laws and the issues with fiscals and judges not being able to interpret them correctly.

    If “our laws were mostly drafted based on the existing laws of other countries”, isn’t it a cause for concern that our lawmakers are copycats as well?

  17. Hi Yuga,

    You wrote:
    If “our laws were mostly drafted based on the existing laws of other countries”, isn’t it a cause for concern that our lawmakers are copycats as well?

    My reply:
    If the laws copied are applicable to us, that should not be a concern. What should worry us if they are doing nothing but copying others.

    Going back to the topic, my comment simply pointed out that our libel laws are not unique to us and we should not, at the first jerk of our knees, automatically blame this country. Blogs have a potential audience of several millions at any time. Blogs shape people’s opinion and we should be careful with what we post. Cheers!

  18. Glenn says:

    Hi Abe, the domain didn’t really expire – I just renamed my site to a different domain but I’ll still be using the old domain for redirection purposes :)

    I re-posted the entry to my blog so that my site visitors can be aware.

  19. Jan Alvin says:

    Can someone tell what is a libelous site and how does this happen?(I know what libel is)

    please tell me here
    http://www.blogtambayan.blogspot.com

  20. marhgil says:

    was he sued by simply linking? or was he sued because of his alleged derogatory remarks for the linked site?

  21. aeroz says:

    yah its true… its ok to be penalized by google than to be sued… sir yuga please allow me to put links here… pleasee….

    Earn money, create blog for money and grab the technology and gadgets, read some reviews and if your tired watch anime or read some health tips.

  22. aeroz says:

    this is truly horrible…. can’t even imagine

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