[FoRK] defamation: US vs. UK
Stephen D. Williams <
sdw at lig.net
> on >
Thu Aug 3 06:21:30 PDT 2006
There is a fundamental difference between US and UK legal systems that
probably explains this interpretation:
In the US, everyone pays for their own attorneys and costs unless they
are specifically allowed by a relevant statute to ask for legal fees
upon winning. The Virginia Consumer Protection Act, a blanket damages
vehicle that references many other statutes, has this provision.
In the UK, the loser pays all legal costs by default.
This doesn't stop attorneys from asking for legal fees from the losing
side, threatening such costs, etc. Probably there are statutes that
allow for such fees for frivolous lawsuits in many jurisdictions.
This difference could be said to increase or decrease marginal and minor
cases in various circumstances.
Civil court is based on a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. over
50-60% certainty, rather than criminal assumption of innocence which is
overcome by more like 90-100%. I think that in either US or UK systems,
there would be many circumstances where someone might assume something
on meager facts that would then require someone to actively discredit them.
Upon reflection, I bet a lot of the difference is some statute about
presumption of privacy and self-authority in the UK and the first
amendment right to comment about your opinions about anything, and
anyone, in the US.
I'd be interested in learning more details.
Your Rights When You Are Stopped or Confronted for Photography
The right to take photographs is under assault now more than ever.
People are being stopped, harassed, and even intimidated into handing
over their personal property simply because they were taking photographs
of subjects that made other people uncomfortable. Recent examples have
included photographing industrial plants, bridges, and bus stations. For
the most part, attempts to restrict photography are based on misguided
fears about the supposed dangers that unrestricted photography presents
Ironically, unrestricted photography by private citizens has played an
integral role in protecting the freedom, security, and well-being of all
Americans. Photography in the United States has contributed to
improvements in civil rights, curbed abusive child labor practices, and
provided important information in investigating crimes. These images
have not always been pretty and often have offended the sensibilities of
governmental and commercial interests who had vested interests in a
status quo that was adverse to most other people.
Photography has not contributed to a decline in public safety or
economic vitality in the United States. When people think back on the
acts of terrorism that have occurred over the last forty years, none
have depended on or even involved photography. Restrictions on
photography would not have prevented any of these acts. Similarly, some
corporations have a history of abusing the rights of photographers under
the guise of protecting their trade secrets. These claims are almost
always meritless because entities are required to keep trade secrets
from public view if they want to protect them. Trade secret laws do not
give anyone the right to restrain photographers from taking photographs
in public places.
/The Photographer's Right/ is a downloadable guide that is loosely based
on the Bust Card and the Know Your Rights pamphlet that used to be
available on the ACLU website. It may be downloaded and printed out
using Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may make copies and carry them your
wallet, pocket, or camera bag to give you quick access to your rights
and obligations concerning confrontations over photography. You may
distribute the guide to others ,provided that such distribution is not
done for commercial gain and credit is given to the author."
Dave Long wrote:
> Interesting difference between the US and the UK:
> Under neither system can one be slandered by a true statement, but in
> the UK it is the burden of the accused to prove their words, and in
> the US, the burden of the accuser to discredit them.
> The latter is consistent with presumption of innocence; is there any
> explanation beyond tradition for the former?
> FoRK mailing list
swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw
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