The popular Sex Gore Mutants website is under threat of closure as a result of legal action over a defamation claim.
From Sex Gore Mutants:
I am very saddened to inform you that I have been contacted this afternoon and informed SGM will be forcibly taken offline this coming Monday afternoon after legal complaint was made in reference to our article on The DarkSide magazine.
I was contacted yesterday (Friday) at 4pm with an extensive Defamation notice, the basic core as follows...
We write (following) our investigations and further complaint from the solicitors acting on behalf of the complainant; we have noticed that the site above contains defamatory allegations against the complainant. In accordance with the jurisdiction
of the English Courts this publication is deemed to be defamatory in accordance with the common law provisions of the Defamation Act 1996; on the basis that the statement "would tend to lower the party in the estimation of right-thinking
members of society." This is not only against our terms and conditions but is also in breach of UK Law and various sections of the associated statute(s)
...and so it goes on, frustratingly there was no advance notice of this legal challenge nor no prior contact from the complainant. The Defamation notice only referred to SGM (as a whole entity online publication) with no clue whatsoever as to what
the allegation referred to and worryingly only notice that they plan to 'take action (on myself and SGM) without any further notice' from this coming Monday at noon (and as I received the notice at 4pm on a Friday I only had one hour that day and
three hours on Monday morning to try address this).
Obviously alarmed I made some calls to try find out what exactly the complaint was. Having clarified what the issue was my first step was to remove that page from our server immediately as I do not wish SGM to be forcibly removed from the net due to
something as simple as an old critical review piece. Worryingly though, I also tried to clarify if this would stop further action taking place but have not been given any assurances nor will I receive any till Monday at the earliest as the issue is
now in the hands of various solicitors and legal department (as they say, once a ball starts rolling it can be hard to stop).
Fingers crossed we can try stop SGM being pulled on Monday (I had been planning to run a massive update tomorrow but have put this on hold till we sort this out) - worst case scenario (at this point) is we find another server provider.
Either way, between legal costs and personal stress this is not a good day for myself or online journalism as a whole.
From Starz Forum
The Darkside contributor in question, Calum explains his case in comments on the Starz forum:
I have since emailed the server, who emailed me to say they were dealing with this, to state that - as Alan has kindly taken the piece down (which, again, I didn't ask for) I would be extremely upset if they did anything to
censor his views of my work or to close down his site. If anything happens to the contrary I will happily fight with him to have the site restored.
I wouldn't have bothered complaining about one bleeding sentence if I knew the server were going to start going crazy!!
Hopefully all will be resolved shortly but it does rather show that a few ill judged words can cause sufficient hurt to get lawyers involved. And this may then create expensive legal juggernauts that may escalate action way beyond that
And of cause it is always a bit of background concern to the Melon Farmers website that surely contains more than its fair share of ill judged words.