Liability of Online Service Providers for Defamatory Content: The Case of Online Discussion Forums

Author: Kelvin Kwok 

Published in: The Law Quarterly Review, v. 130 n. 2, p. 206-211. (2014)

Abstract: A perplexing, contemporary issue in libel law is whether online service providers (OSPs) should be held responsible for defamatory content published by Internet users using their services. The English courts have previously wrestled with this issue in the context of weblogs (Tamiz v. Google [2013] EWCA Civ 68; [2013] 1 W.L.R. 2151; Davison v. Habeeb [2011] EWHC 3031 (QB); [2012] 3 C.M.L.R. 6), newsgroups (Godfrey v. Demon Internet Ltd [2001] Q.B. 201), search engines (Metropolitan International Schools Ltd v. Designtechnica Corp [2009] EWHC 1765; [2011] 1 W.L.R. 1743), and mere conduits (Bunt v. Tilley [2006] EWHC 407 (QB); [2007] 1 W.L.R. 1243). In Oriental Press Group Ltd v. Fevaworks Solutions Ltd [2013] HKEC 1025, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (HKCFA), perhaps for the first time in the common law world, addressed this question in the setting of online discussion forums. This paper critically analyses the reasoning of the HKCFA in Oriental Press Group.

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