Food for Thought.
While I'm no fan of mainstream media, I am equally as impressed with archaic laws such as this and stupified by those who strive to retain them!
Analysis of the timeline of this law would appear to be the following:
1. The Duke of Brunswick in 1847 learned of a libel levelled against him some 17 years previous, sent his servant to obtain a copy from the publisher and the British Museum (2nd and 3rd "publications") and successfully sued the publisher, which although this article doesn't name, was most probably The Times.
2. Fast forward 101 years to 1948, when the New York Court of Appeals introduced the "Single Publication Rule" with their decision, into US Law.
Although not explicitly stated, we have to assume (for brevity) that the limitation of one year to act upon a libel was established at the same time or sometime shortly thereafter, in both US & English Law.
What we cannot assume however, is that English law acquired or instituted the Single Publication Law. If it had, this article and our comments wouldn't exist.
3. Moving forward a further 54 years, we find once more that the NYCoA ratifies the 1948 judgement, only this time they reflect upon and incorporate the Internet.
Remember, this was in 2002, a year on from 9/11, which happened in the NYCoA backyard!!
Future historians may well look back and condemn this decision but somehow I doubt it.
4. Rewind to 2001, when the British High Court ruled that every time a defamatory comment was accessed online, it constituted a "new publication".
So, no change from 154 years ago!
Remember, way back then, being "online" was coming to terms with the new fangled thing called a "News-paper".
The Duke of Brunswick didn't get 'with it' but was fortunate (and affluent) enough to send his servant to retrieve the new publications of his "online" world.
5. The Grigori Loutchansky episode only serves to prove that the "one year" rule to act upon a libel is a fallacy today in much the same way it was so many years ago.
6. Having wrote all I have, I would like you to consider the following and decide where it fits in with yester-year and today . . .
Daily Star vs. Jeffrey Archer (Libel: 1987)
Archer was alleged to have had sex with Monica Coghlan. The trial jury found in favour of Archer and awarded him half a million pounds in damages plus costs. On top of that, the Daily Star incurred costs of £1 million and sacked their editor, Lloyd Turner.
One might say, "Fair enough"! Libel claim was brought within the one year limit (which does NOT exist within English Law) and a just result awarded.
Move forward, (SLOWLY), from 1987 towards 2001 and assess this!
If J.A. hadn't brought about his claim of libel back then and waited a number of years (a bit like the Duke of Brunswick) he could have sued many more times over, for each and every "online publication" to the tune of £500,000, each and every time!!!
And then? . . . We run full tilt into reality!! Perjury and Perverting the Course of Justice.
Back in 1987 he said he would "Give the award to charity".
In 2001 he paid back the £500,000 he was awarded to the Daily Star / News of the World, along with the £1 million they incurred in court costs.
Who pays and weeps for Monica Coughlan and Lloyd Turner?
You, Me, Them??
As I said at the beginning: "While I'm no fan of mainstream media, I am equally as impressed with archaic laws such as this and stupified by those who strive to retain them!"
But I remember the victims and I have no association with any of them except my own humanity!