popular Sex Gore Mutants website is under threat of closure as a result
of legal action over a defamation claim.
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.
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 intended.
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