Shock European court decision: Websites are liable for users’ comments

In a surprise decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has ruled that the Estonian news site Delfi may be held responsible for anonymous and allegedly defamatory comments from its readers. As the digital rights organization Access notes, this goes against the European Union’s e-commerce directive, which “guarantees liability protection for intermediaries that implement notice-and-takedown mechanisms on third-party comments.” As such, Peter Micek, Senior Policy Counsel at Access, says the ECHR judgment has “dramatically shifted the internet away from the free expression and privacy protections that created the internet as we know it.”

h/t Ace of Spades HQ

  • Justin St.Denis

    Gee whiz! This move puts the EU on a par with Canada internet-wise. That is most unfortunate. Canada already has among the most boring Internet and Internet sites around. Oh well. Maybe more Caucasians in Europe will get off their butts and maybe take up shooting, hunting, fishing or overthrowing repressive governments. Just a thought.

    • Yup it is the law in Canada. You can trust me on that one.

  • Xavier

    Then you are at our mercy. Free liquor and AR-15s for all commenters or we give you the Reason treatment. 😉

  • JoKeR
  • tom_billesley

    Another good reason for the UK to ditch the 1998 Human Rights Act and ECHR stupidity and to draw up a modernized version of the 1689 Bill of Rights that’s fit for purpose.

    • ntt1

      the roots are all there it would just need a bit of polish and expansion in a few areas. remember it was crafted by landed gentry and falls short of some ideals

  • Exile1981

    Will this new law be applied equally? I mean look at all the european based sites advocating murder of non-muslims. Will those sites be held responsible or will just sites that suggest reductions in immigration be targeted?

    • tom_billesley

      Ah, but that’s protected religious speech.

  • CodexCoder

    Someone explain to me logically how a third party can be responsible for the repetition of comments made by an unknown person? I can understand my own responsibility, but for a website to be responsible, ridiculous.

    • Alain

      I suppose it is much like the secret police in totalitarian regimes. They held every family member and even friends responsible for what they called a crime against the state committed by anyone of said group. In other words they are intent on forcing web site owners to act like secret police and do their dirty work for them.

  • simus1

    Eurocrats against free speach?
    There mus’ be showm mistook.