[*]Gratuitous Icon Post

The t-shirt is in the wash, but the text on the picture is accurate and answers his question.
Several people are linking to an ill-informed post by Mike Smithson at Political Betting entitled Is Labour about to clamp-down on the blogsphere? about possible reforms to the UK defamation and libel laws. I have no idea what Mike's source is, but mine is open and to the point. Padraig from Index on Censorship attended a Westminster Hall debate this week and wrote it up for Liberal Conspiracy.

He, and I, are very hopeful about the results of the debate, and the Govt has agreed a consultation that will pay specific attention to libel and the internet. As this is something I've been calling for for some time, it's great to see progress being made. My comment to Mr Smithson is below the cut for those that don't like wading through 350+ off topic tangents about unrelated subjects and discussions from previous thread:

ETA, before the cut, Padraig's posted an update on LC, definitely worth a read for everyone that allows open comments and talks about, well, people on their journal.
ETA2: John Hemming MP also agrees on comment screening—"In the mean time (and rightly) we have the odd situation that someone who moderates comments can be liable for libel, but someone who doesn't moderate comments cannot."
Summary of why Mike Smithson has got the wrong end of the stick )
I added a link to the Eady case as it's important, other useful links are:
Defamation
Basic Libel for Idiots

All three have been in my 'to post' folder for far too long. Really should remember that a quick knockabout post with links is frequently more effective than articles so well researched they never actually see the light of day.
Gah, sometimes you can try to be too clever. Bottom link is to Andrew's fix of the crossposter code, which theoretically auto-selects a userpic, gets the timestamp right and removes the auto formatting. Except that having done so, it's not posted at all today. So either del.icio.us is playing up or I've messed my code. Anyone want to lay odds? Apologies for the messy appearance, this is a copy/paste from my profile there. Still, it works.
  1. Taxing times for Hungary's porn inspectors | The Register

    A Hungarian porn producer has filed his tax forms, and claimed scene dressing props as legitimate business expenses. So the tax inspectors have to watch his films to confirm they're used. Apparently 'It's a hard job'

    to porn humour taxation ... saved by 2 other people ... 22 hours ago
  2. Solar Cycle 24 Could Be 13 Years Long - Cooler Times Ahead? « Watts Up With That?

    I'm not enough of a scientist to know if this holds water at all, written from a sceptic perspective I think, but I don't discount the anti-climate change position completely, doubt is good. Anyone able to expand, confirm or debunk?

  3. 'The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion' - When the Anti-Choice Choose

    I've read many of these quotes before, but it is a fairly good collection about how anti-abortion campaigners react if it's them that needs to make the choice.

    to abortion Freedom ... saved by 320 other people ... 23 hours ago
  4. Hack Attack: Burn almost any video file to a playable DVD

    Mostly for my reference as I've got some stuff I want to back up from my old PC and have never done it. Anyone got experience of using this or other software to burn AVIs and similar onto DVD?

  5. Basic UK libel law for idiots by Adam Porter

    Another guide to online libel, this time from Urban 75. Seems accurate, although I'm really not sure about the linking could be defamation thing. Mentions the Staggers/Scallywag case directly though.

  6. Charlie's Diary: Moderation Policy

    Not a bad general guide about what is and isn't acceptable on someone else's blog, and most of it applies to me as well (although the bits about huge readership numbers and similar aren't, natch). Freedom of speech doesn't apply.

  7. Qinetiq ships first 'Transformer' war-droid | The Register

    It doesn't actually change shape, but it's got a selection opf different weapon fits, and dude, it's a robot. Um, not 100% sure I approve, but still, it's cool

  8. The greatest defunct Web sites and dotcom disasters - Crave at CNET.co.uk

    These are cool, a set of failed 'name' websites and why they failed. Some of the could work well now, others are just bad examples of stupid business plans.

  9. delicious -> livejournal reposter - May Contain Nuts

    Andrew's redone some of the code for the cross poster I'm using, much better, solves the timestamp problem and a few other things. I really need to reinstall an FTP client and fix mine.

    to del.icio.us livejournal ... 1 day ago
Chortle reports that Vegas is suing[2] over the allegations made by the Guardian[1] and hinted at in The Times. The original story sparked a (justifiable) series of complaints and posts, including boycott and letter writing as well as a good explanation from Jennie about why the audience and alleged victim may have kept quiet.

Vegas himself has not commented fully but has said I haven't done anything wrong (ETA: since I wrote this, the Press Gazette has covered the story and has comments from Vegas[3]). Given the nature of the UK libel laws this makes sense—his lawyers will've told him to stay quiet and not mention specifics, and they'll likely push for an out of court settlement. If it does go to court, unfortunately, the odds are in his favour to win the case. English libel law notoriously favours the plaintiff and all he he needs to demonstrate is that his reputation was hurt (uncontestable); the Guardian'll need to, they need to demonstrate that their version of events is a reasonable interpretation (and he'll only need a few audience witnesses to say otherwise unfortunately). Teh Graun pretty much needs the girl herself to come forward else they've lost. Have I mentioned English libel law is an arse? I think I might've.

Of course, he does have a few witnesses on his side already, this commenter at the Evening Standard Comedy Blog for example:
I too was at the show on Friday and from my vantage point in the second row, I can honestly say that the female audience member in question appeared to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Coming off stage she looked as if she had just won the lottery.
and as Chortle observes:
Did his ‘victim’ feel uncomfortable, too? Undoubtedly. I certainly did. Did she feel abused? Only she can tell. It’s the million dollar question that Vegas’s reputation rests upon. Or maybe the damage has already been done.
We'll be watching this one closely I suspect. Tim? I'll be in touch mate.

[1] Guardian has removed the story as a result of the action, it was here.

[2] A few of the articles I link to have now been removed or locked down by the sites that published them due to liability concerns—no one wants to get sued for libel. Worth reiterating to commenters that under the T&Cs of Livejournal, each individual is responsible for their own comments—this is a public post and Schillings have a rep for searching blogs (see tag).

[3] From Tim at Bloggerheads in his post linking here. A note for non-LJ commenters )
Hmm, this is, I think, rather amusing. Those, um, impartial advisers acting as lawyers for Alisher Usmanov say on their site:
Using the law to protect reputations is our specialism.
Hmm. Some hyperbolic musings on my part )

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] liadnan in the comments here makes a very good, and informed point, from the perspective of a practicing barrister:
By and large the lawyer's (or at least the solicitor's -professional obligations are slightly different at the bar-) job is to advise -within the law- on possible courses of action which may achieve the client's wishes, and then, once the client has decided, carry out the chosen course, not to make decisions for their client based on their own political, social, or moral beliefs about what the law should be.
He's right, of course, the law firm itself can't be blamed specifically for acting on behalf of their client, but then, I've always known I'd make a terrible lawyer...
Thanks to Dave and Steve in the comments to the previous post, the comedy genius of Stewart and Colbert cover an old royal scandal (video link), and demonstrate the stupidity of the libel laws in a different way.

Incidentally, if anyone does want to go into detail about the specifics of the allegation in the comments? LJ's policies assert that you're responsible for what you post, so, y'know, your risk, not mine...
One of the advantages of having an image in your sidebar hosted at Tim Ireland's site is that when it comes back up, the image reappears to tell you. Bloggerheads itself has a holding page, he needs to reconfigure the database, but he's got a blogger hosted temporary site all about The Alisher Usmanov Affair and today he's specifically requesting a response from Fasthosts:
To ensure we broadcast as clear a picture as possible, Clive and I need to deal with this matter by addressing the parties/issues involved in the following order:

- Fasthosts
- Schillings
- Alisher Usmanov
- UK libel law

Today, we begin with Fasthosts.
The Fasthosts issue is a contractual/specific libel case one, that I'm not involved in, I have however removed them from my potential list of companies to rent a server from (I am looking) in the meantime, pending their response. The libel law is where my obvious interest lies, the law can, and should be, reformed, and this may be the cause celebre to get it done, we shall see. in the meantime, Chris Applegate asks:
I figured an article that doesn’t mention the allegations specifically but still discusses them is better than no article at all. But in the light of reading all the blog coverage of this now, I have my doubts: Am I right, or have I cowardly compromised? Your thoughts are welcome.
Personally, I think he was correct to be cautious. Craig Murray, by all accounts, thinks he has a solid case and welcomes the opportunity to test it in court, Schillings/Usmanov seem to want to quash the story but not actually sue (that's my big issue with the law as is, money can suppress a story by threat of legal action). But those not party to the evidence itself need to be circumspect--I have reason to believe Craig may be correct, but I have no plans on going to court over his story. Giving coverage to the action, but not the details of the story itself, seems to me to be a valid compromise.
K, briefly, something very serious, but I need to follow it up properly. Read this:
Chicken Yoghurt » Public Service Announcement - Craig Murray, Tim Ireland, Boris Johnson, Bob Piper...
Then go on to read these
Ministry of Truth » Blog Archive » Wealth (n). Impunity.
The Devil's Kitchen: Directing action against UK libel laws

The US allows for hosts to be covered by, amongst other things, common carrier status. The UK doesn't. I've mentioned the stupidity of the UK libel laws before. But for Tim's business, and the websites of two completely unrelated well known professional clients to be simply taken down because Fasthosts appear to be running scared? That's not good.

I suspect a change to the law will be needed. Scarily, wouldn't take much, especially if someone like Boris Johnson is already directly involved. Might want a letter writing/emailing campaign. More to follow.
When I wrote my GIP explaining this icon I wrote a brief paragraph of the legal case it was inspired by. It appears that my memory was slightly faulty on a few minor details, and The Snow in Summer[1] has a much better explanation and also links to the then Staggers editor, Steve Platt, own website and recollections. This post is partially to share the links, because it's all worth a read, and partially to remind me to return and read it properly when not 3/4 asleep. Thanks Iain, nice bit of digging there. I've since lost my back issues of Staggers from the time, although I do have a copy of the offending Scallywag issue, probably ought to scan it and put it up somewhere.


[1] [livejournal.com profile] tsitsoss_rss, one of the first 'blog' feeds I subscribed to after setting up LJ, think I found it clicking links from [livejournal.com profile] ukpolitics, and definitely an influence on my decision to try and 'blog' on stuff I know about &c. Strange how we can all end up going full circle. Of course the author was [livejournal.com profile] daweaver of this parish, before he left, many of his concerns about LJ have since been proven completely right, naturally.
There are still some things about the settings on this laptop that confuse me. To save a PSD from ImageReady as a Gif, if the source file was a jpg, I have to edit it with photoshop. But then when saving it from photoshop it says "saved using ImageReady" in the dialogue. But I can't find that dialogue in ImageReady. Not an issue at all, just weird. Anyway, made a new icon (some might recognise it from one of my old forum sigs, back when silly kids used to complain I wasn't nice enough when answering their idiot rules questions), and also updated a few already existing but not very good icons.

Citizen, Gentleman Keywords: Citizen, Gentleman
Words from Dr Who, idea by [livejournal.com profile] calapine, with a background by [livejournal.com profile] anabel_icons—I liked this when I first saw it, but she'd messed up the spelling, I animated it but messed up. I was said by Hartnell in The Daleks' Master Plan (reviewed here by [livejournal.com profile] nhw, a fairly high google result for the phrase), and is thus cool.

Goth, Goth Rome Keywords: Goth, Goth Rome
Animated by me, original art by SJGames—I've just always liked it, but the old version was a bit too fast and fairly static, now I've figured out how to do more frames, why not? NB, when I use it from now on I'll use the 'Goth' keyword, the 'Goth Rome' is merely there for backwards compatibility...

Think, Don't Think Keywords: Think
Russian intellectual catechism, from a t-shirt by New Statesman magazine—This comes back to my hatred of the UK libel laws, John Major, then Prime Minister, sued the New Statesman for printing an article asserting he wasn't having an affair with his caterer. The suit was spurious, and it was eventually dropped, but not until after the distributors and printers (because they can get sued to, as can a paperboy) settled out of court, and the Staggers indemnity insurance wasn't good enough.

A few more still to do, but I think I like animating quote icons like this, need to sort the timing out a little on these but overall I'm happy. Opinions?
ETA: Above images are updated versions after feedback, they'll probably get messed around with again.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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