Legal action against my blog

[UPDATE – some kind soul has also archived the post on the facebook page “You Don’t Have To Pay Parking Tickets – Spread The Word!” Thank you to them…]

For those unaware (i.e. those who don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook), my host (that would be One&One) received a “take down” notice the other day. It relates to this post on the blog, was issued by M Law solicitors and is on behalf of [company I can’t mention].

As of midday Monday 25th October, that post has to be removed or my blog will be taken down wholesale.

So, I’ve taken the precaution of backing everything up. And posting the entire text of the post here and here. The former is MoneySavingExpert.com, a well known consumer action group with an actual legal team who would happily tell M Law to go check their rulebook as there’s no grounds for removing the post. The latter is the lovely Shelli’s blog and is hosted in the US where they still seem to have laws that protect freedom of expression.

Do note that the original postings from which my blog post was put together are still available (at the moment) on PePiPoo.com – although I gather they’ve also received a take-down notice. For a large portion of their site. PePiPoo are a consumer action website featuring complaints relating to vehicles, parking and so on. As such there is a lot of potential defamation up there… if you regard “criticism” as “defamation”.

I should be grateful that One&One didn’t just hoik my blog out from under me, as I have heard has happened to other people with other hosts. However, after repeated requests they have so far failed to furnish me with the exact text of the demands from M Law – to whit, what precisely is allegedly “defamatory” about the post. I think I am legally entitled to this information. I’m not an allegedly dodgy parking company (as alleged by pretty much every website you’ll find by Googling their name, including BBC’s Watchdog) with the money to spend on lawyers so I can’t be 100% sure.

One&One, however, are taking the easy route and assuming guilt without giving me a chance to prove innocence. At least, that’s the way I see it. I don’t wish to appear defamatory, and part of me can see it from their point of view. It’s easier to get me to do something than to fight my battle for me, regardless of whether said battle is right or wrong.

In the meantime, the blog post – which, on Tuesday had been read maybe 30-40 times since it was posted, has now gone past the 400 views mark. That is not including viewings of the post on PePiPoo, MSE (another 130) or Shelli’s blog. That makes a more than ten-fold increase in readers simply due to their actions to try to stop people reading it.

[company I can’t mention] – if you wanted to avoid bad publicity then you went very much the wrong way about it!

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