Tuesday 1 April 2014

Liability for other people's comments.....

The following statement appeared on a blog in which an open letter was written to a sponsor of the MSSA, “Well if you had read the article you'd see that it wasn't us writing it.. but someone else

Basically the owner of the blog was trying to distance himself from accepting responsibility for an article that he printed on a blog that he owns.

But what does the law say?

Please be so kind as to take note of the following:

In the matter of DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH V RAYAN SOOKNUNAN the facts are briefly that Mr Sooknunan put up a Facebook page which was then exploited by members of the public to post inflammatory and defamatory content directed at the church.

The Church brought proceedings against Sooknunan to cease and desist, as well as for damages incurred.

Sooknunans defence was that he was not responsible for content as he had not posted it.

The Court ruled that as Sooknunan was responsible for the Facebook page and allowed such defamatory content to be posted, based on his control of the site, he was liable for the defamation of the church.

It follows that any party who controls a page, blog, Internet home page, Facebook page etc., is not only responsible for own content, but all content posted to such a page.

It is therefore critical to monitor all content, regardless of origin, edit and remove all unwanted content.

Thus it is not good enough to state Well if you had read the article you'd see that it wasn't us writing it.. but someone else”, because by allowing the article on your page, you are actually agreeing to such article and making yourself liable.

Scary, is it not?

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