PogoWasRight.org recently covered the controversy concerning Wikimedia’s publication of the name of a convicted German murderer whose name may no longer be published under German law. According to the German courts, their decision also applies to non-German publishers and the convicted killer’s lawyers sent a threat letter to Wikimedia demanding that they redact their client’s name from accounts of the murder. Needless to say, that did not go over well here and numerous U.S.-based blogs and news outlets made a point of publishing his name.
Now Wikipedia has posted a legal threat letter from the law firm of Carter-Ruck in London. It is addressed to Hosting Froggy, the U.S. host of www.gerrymcannsblogs.co.uk and deals with the publication of a book by Goncalo Amaral, the former coordinator of the Portuguese Policia Judiciara investigation into the Madeleine McCann abduction in Portugal in May 2007.
According to the letter (pdf), Amaral’s theories about the case that suggested parental involvement in the abduction were
discredited by the Portuguese Court which found no evidence to support his thesis whatsoever. Mr. Amaral is prohibited from speaking or writing about the events surrounding the disappearance of our clients’ daughter Madeleine by an injunction granted by the Portuguese Court. A copy of the Order is enclosed. This letter shall stand as formal notification of the terms of the Injunction against Mr. Amaral. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Amaral is prevented from discussing or writing about the matter anywhere in the world, not only in Portugal.
The letter goes on to articulate that the host is posting libelous material about the McCann’s and that the hosting company is in violation of a court order. The lawyers request Froggy Host remove the material and turn over all information on the individuals responsible for the web site.
Over on www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk, they have posted some commentary by Albert Moisiu on the the Portuguese court’s order, which they, like Wikileaks, have uploaded. Whether the commentary/analysis by Moisiu is accurate, I cannot say as I don’t speak Portuguese and am not a lawyer. But what may be particularly interesting and relevant is this comment Moisiu made:
In ALL respects, therefore, the RESPONDENTS are prohibited from doing certain things, but in the DECISION there is no attempt to prohibit other people from doing those things – provided, of course, that they do them within the scope of their own legal rights (and duties).
That paints a significantly different picture than what the Carter-Ruck asserted in claiming that the court order applied to everyone everywhere, including a U.S. hosting service.
As of the time of this service, www.gerrymcannsblogs.co.uk is still online.