Metropolitan International Schools Ltd. (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corp (T/A Digital Trends) and Others: QBD 16 Jul 2009

The claimant complained that the defendant had published on its internet forums comments by posters which were defamatory of it, and which were then made available by the second defendant search engine. The court was asked what responsibility a search engine might have for a defamation pointed to by its results pages.
Held: As to the search engine: ‘There being no input from the Third Defendant, therefore, on the scenario I have so far posited, it cannot be characterised as a publisher at common law. It has not authorised or caused the snippet to appear on the user’s screen in any meaningful sense. It has merely, by the provision of its search service, played the role of a facilitator.’
The common law defence of innocent dissemination was not abolished by the 1996 Act, though it may have been superceded by it. The interim order should be set aside. The search engine was not a publisher whether before or after notification, and the master had been misled. However, if Google Inc was to be regarded as a publisher of the search ‘snippets’, it was difficult to see how it would not fall within the definition of a commercial publisher. It would, on that hypothesis, not qualify for exemption under s.1(1)(a) and would be counted a ‘publisher’.

Eady J
[2011] 1 WLR 1743, [2009] EWHC 1765 (QB), Times 03-Aug-2009, [2009] EMLR 27
Defamation Act 1996, Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No 2013) 17 18 19
England and Wales
CitedKonamaneni v Rolls Royce Industrial Power (India) Limited ChD 20-Dec-2001
The claimants founded their action on the assertion that the defendants had been corrupt in obtaining contracts in India. The defendants argued that the English courts had no jurisdiction. The claimants held various small shareholdings in a company . .
CitedMRG (Japan) Ltd v Engelhard Metals Japan Ltd ComC 18-Dec-2003
Application to set aside leave to serve out of jurisdiction.There must a ‘good arguable case’ to justify such service. . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others CA 19-Apr-1992
In two issues of ‘The Sunday Times’ newspaper on 17 and 24 September 1989 there appeared articles concerning share deals involving the superannuation fund of the Derbyshire County Council. The articles in the issue of 17 September were headed . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
CitedBerezovsky v Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company and Another QBD 31-Jul-2008
The claimant alleged defamation in a Russian TV programme broadcast on Freeview and available to an watched by Russians in the UK. . .
CitedAl Amoudi v Brisard and Another QBD 12-May-2006
In the context of allegations of Internet publication there is no presumption that the words published were actually read, and no presumption that a reader who has read one article on a blog will have read all the other articles. The burden is on . .
CitedGodfrey v Demon Internet Limited (2) QBD 23-Apr-1999
Evidence of Reputation Admissible but Limited
The plaintiff had brought an action for damages for defamation. The defendant wished to amend its defence to include allegations that the plaintiff had courted litigation by his action.
Held: A judge assessing damages should be able see the . .
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of statements made on internet bulletin boards. He pursued the operators of the bulletin boards, and the court now considered the liability of the Internet Service Providers whose systems had . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedBerezovsky v Forbes Inc and Michaels; Glouchkov v Same HL 16-May-2000
Plaintiffs who lived in Russia sought damages for defamation against an American magazine with a small distribution in England. Both plaintiffs had real connections with and reputations in England. A judgment in Russia would do nothing to repair the . .
CitedLewis and others v King CA 19-Oct-2004
The claimant sought damages for defamation for an article published on the Internet. The claimant Don King sued in London even though he lived in the US as did the defendants.
Held: A publication via the internet occurred when the material was . .
CitedMCA Records Inc v Charly Records Ltd and others (No 5) CA 29-Nov-2001
Thre had been an action for copyright and trade mark infringement. The court considered the personal liability of directors of the company for the costs of the action. . .
CitedNetwork Telecom (Europe) Ltd v Telephone Systems International Inc QBD 2003
Burton J said: ‘Inasmuch as the application is made ex parte, full and fair disclosure is necessary, as in all ex parte applications, and the failure to make such full and fair disclosure shall justify the court in discharging the order, even though . .
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedGutnick v Dow Jones 10-Dec-2002
(High Court of Australia) The Court rejected a challenge, in the context of Internet libel, to the applicability of such established principles as that vouchsafed in Duke of Brunswick: ‘It was suggested that the World Wide Web was different from . .
CitedEmmens v Pottle CA 1885
A subordinate distributor, here a vendor of newspapers, can plead the common law defence to defamation, of innocent dissemination.
Held: The vendor was prima facie liable, and therefore had to demonstrate the defence to avoid liability. He . .
CitedMcLeod v St Aubyn PC 1899
St. Vincent: The defendant was accused of publishing a statement by handing over an unread copy of a newspaper for return the following day.
Held: There was no sufficient degree of awareness or intention to impose legal responsibility for that . .
CitedSociete Generale de Paris v Dreyfus Bros 1885
The court acknowledged how serious it was for a foreigner to be troubled by English proceedings, and therefore ‘the Court ought to be exceedingly careful before it allowed a writ to be served out of the jurisdiction’. . .
CitedGoldsmith v Sperrings Ltd CA 1977
Claims for Collateral Purpose treated as abuse
The plaintiff commenced proceedings for damages for libel and an injunction against the publishers, the editors and the main distributors of Private Eye. In addition, he issued writs against a large number of other wholesale and retail distributors . .
CitedNational Assistance Board v Wilkinson 1952
It is a fundamental principle of statutory construction that Parliament should not be taken as effecting a fundamental alteration in the general law, by (say) abolishing a long established defence, unless it made this expressly clear in the . .
CitedEmmens v Pottle CA 1885
A subordinate distributor, here a vendor of newspapers, can plead the common law defence to defamation, of innocent dissemination.
Held: The vendor was prima facie liable, and therefore had to demonstrate the defence to avoid liability. He . .

Cited by:
CitedBudu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
The defendant sought to strike out the claimant’s action in defamation. It had reported that the police had withdrawn an employment offer to claimant after doubting his immigration status.
Held: The claims should be struck out. The articles . .
See AlsoMetropolitan International Schools Ltd (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corporation (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 1-Oct-2010
The court set at andpound;50,000 the damages after a finding of defamation of the claimant training company for materials published by the defendant thorugh their web-site. An internet search engine was not liable in defamation because the mental . .
CitedTamiz v Google Inc Google UK Ltd QBD 2-Mar-2012
The claimant sought damages in defamation against the defendant company offering internet search facilities. The words complained of had been published in a blog, and in comments published on the blog.
Held: Jurisdiction should be declined. . .
CitedTamiz v Google Inc CA 14-Feb-2013
The respondent hosted a blogs platform. One of its user’s blogs was said by the appellant to have been defamatory. On discovery the material had been removed quickly. The claimant now appealed against his claim being struck out. He argued as to: (1) . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, European, Litigation Practice

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.347819