Guardian: ‘Laughing stock’ libel laws to be reformed, says Nick Clegg

"Nick Clegg will [on Friday] set out the most ambitious plans yet to relax Britain's libel laws, saying he will back a raft of reforms including a statutory public interest defence. ... Britain will become the first country to ask parliament to set out its libel laws, and provide greater clarity ... He also wants large corporations to show they have suffered substantial damage before they sue individuals and non-governmental organisations. A new limited privilege will be given to newspapers when reporting the proceedings of foreign parliaments."

London Review of Books: Diary

From a 2008 LRB article by Leah Price: "Journalism degrees in Britain still include a speedwriting test; the persistence of a requirement dropped in many other countries can be explained either by the peculiarities of British libel law (shorthand notes are admissible in journalists’ defence) or by the prohibition on the use of sound recording in court. But the distinction that emerged a century ago between mechanical devices (forbidden) and human scribes (permitted) is beginning to blur."

Globe and Mail: Google and weekly paper ordered to identify online posters

"A judge in Halifax has lobbed in a reminder that Internet anonymity has its limits. After considering for only a few minutes, the judge told Google Inc. to give up information about a person who had used a gmail account to disseminate allegedly defamatory information about senior fire officials."

Sunday Times: Libel threat to force US papers out of Britain

...And not just in print: "The National Enquirer, based in Miami, blocked British readers after it was successfully sued in London by Cameron Diaz, the Hollywood actress. Her lawyers showed that an article she deemed defamatory had been viewed 279 times by British internet users. ... Some of the most prestigious US newspapers are now considering similar moves. A source at The Washington Post said blocking British readers online could be considered to avoid defamation suits in London."

Times Online: Libel tourists flock to ‘easy’ UK courts

"John Mardas, a Greek citizen and former associate of the Beatles, is fighting a case in the British courts against The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune over articles that he claims falsely represented him as a charlatan. Just 31 people read the relevant articles on the internet in England. The New York Times only sold 177 copies of its newspaper with the disputed article in England, while it was not published in the International Herald Tribune in this country, according to the defendants."

HTFP: Court ruling ‘clarifies law on user-generated content’

"As soon as Newsquest received the legal claim from Mr Karim, the readers' comments were removed from the websites concerned. Mr Justice Eady concluded that Newsquest websites were acting as hosts of the reader comments for the purposes of Regulation 19 of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and therefore would not be liable for any damages even if the material was unlawful."