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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I run a business and someone has posted a newspaper article

Customer Question

I run a business and someone has posted a newspaper article from 2009 on a couple of public forums involving my brother (who I have been estranged from for over 10 years) who was convicted for fraud and selling food (fish) that was not labelled properly. The post linked my company name to the article stating that we worked together, which is untrue. I have been a sole trader as a fish merchant since 1998 and have never worked with him.
I have asked the website in question to remove the post as it is false, stating their own terms of use as follows:
You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this community to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law. You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you.
We at this community also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you. We log all internet protocol addresses accessing this web site.
We reserve the right to remove any content for any reason or no reason at all. We reserve the right to terminate any membership for any reason or no reason at all.'
They responded to my email with the following:
'We are very reluctant to censor posts. We would prefer that you logged into the site yourself and clarified your position publicly. Alternatively, if you instruct your solicitor to write to us, warranting that you have no connection with the linked story, and clarifying that you are not the brother of the mentioned Craig Henderson, we will happily take down or edit the post in question'.
I do not wish to publicly clarify my position on a forum, and do not understand why it matters that Craig Henderson is my brother, when it is the accusation that I worked with him, that he has been convicted in respect of this profession, and it has been suggested that I was involved, that I have an issue with.
Do I have the legal right to expect this to be taken down? Can the website be held responsible for the damage to my reputation for refusing to do so now that they have been made aware?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.Where is the website based please?Is the article true save for you did not work together?Alex
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Alex,There are two websites (both London based, where I have a large customer base) with the exact same post on by the same person (skippy). The other website (that I am not referring to here) is nappyvalley.com (although my question relates to where I stand with both websites).We contacted NappyValley in late 2014 when we realised the post was on there. We were also in talks with an Inspector from the Wandsworth police department at the same time, and after he had checked out our credentials with Sunderland City Council's Environmental Department, he was able to put a post on the website himself to confirm that we were an accredited company (although he also stated that he was unable to recommend any particular company personally).The website then removed the offending post. However, the poster has recently put the post back on after he realised it had been removed. We have contacted NappyValley again and this time they say they are not legally obligated to remove it (even though it is making a false claim).The website I am specifically referring to in my question is stroudgreen.org and the link to it is http://www.stroudgreen.org/discussion/4777/northumberland-fisheries-door-to-door-fish-sales-ok-or-avoid.The article is true in that Craig Henderson was convicted of the crimes he was accused of. However, my name and company are not mentioned in the article, nor did I work with him in any capacity, at any time. The post states that I did, whilst specifically pointing people towards the article.Unfortunately, the profession I am in does have a bad name with bogus fish sellers. However, I am not one of them and keep detailed records and accounts that prove my business is legitimate.Many Thanks
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Do you know where the websites are based?Alex
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They are both London based I think.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
You would need to make sure and ask that its amended.Then you need to complete form N1:http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdfAnd N16a:http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n016a-eng.pdfThe Court would list the matter for hearing and decide whether to order them to take it down. If the Court orders this and refuses this could be contempt of Court which they could be warned, fined or sent to prisonCan I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't understand, what are the forms for specifically. Is there not something I can do before going to court i.e. point them in the direction of something under the law that covers libel for example?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
The law for libel is expensive and complex. If you want to claim libel then you need to show serious harm AND issued proceedings in the High Court.If you follow that procedure and the matter is listed for trial you are looking at around £20,000 in legal fees just for you.The Defamation Act 2013 changed the law to make it harder to claim libel.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Can I clarify anything else for you?Alex
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How exactly does it work with the forms please?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't understand how someone can just link you to an article and suggest that you are part of the crime, and there be no consequences........
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It's not even about punishment, I just want it removed
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Yes I know that - but if they dont remove it, then all you can do is get a Court order.I agree, someone shoudnt link - but if they dont remove it, then you must get a Court order.I understand you want it removed but if they dont you need a Court order
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Does that clarify?Alex
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How much will it cost to go through with the court order, and based on what I've told you already what are my chances of it being successful?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
£280 to issue the claim.I think the odds are in your favour.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Does that clarify everything for you?Alex
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Yes thank you.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
Good luckAlex
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.
If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.If you don't rate then the site does not pay me for the time I have spent answering your question.Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

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