U.K. High Court Heads Off Libel Suits For Internet DiscourceTue Aug 12, 2008 @ 12:31AM PST
By Eriq Gardner
Anybody who has ever trolled an online message board knows there's a lot of flame wars that go on. It's also widely known that the U.K. has some very plaintiff-friendly libel laws. Put one and one together and you get a scenario where libel tourists could potentially go to the U.K. and render many problems for Internet speech. Fortunately, a High Court in the U.K. has issued a ruling that bulletin board and instant messaging chats are more like spoken words than printed words. And in English law it is harder to win damages for slander than libel.