the Irish for rights

The Manifest Destiny of Critics’ Fair Comment, Again

'Manifest Destiny' logo via Keith Burstein's site

During the Summer, I wrote about the decision of the UK’s Court of Appeal in Associated Newspapers Ltd v Keith Burstein [2007] EWCA Civ 600 (22 June 2007), to the effect that an opera critic’s review of the defedant’s opera Manifest Destiny was covered by the defence of fair comment. The defendant sought to appeal to the House of Lords. Now, via MediaPal@LSE (see also Media Law Prof Blog) I learn that, at the end of last month, the House of Lords has decided not to hear the appeal on the usual ground the case “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the House”. According to Ben Dowell in The Guardian, however, the undaunted composer intends to bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). I wrote at the time that the Court of Appeal decision was plainly good common sense, and very welcome for it; I am glad that the House of Lords has declined to hear the appeal; and I fully expect the European Court of Human Rights to dismiss the case as manifestly ill-founded (within the meaning of Article 35(3) of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf)).

3 Responses to “The Manifest Destiny of Critics’ Fair Comment, Again”

  1. […] seen as a watershed for press freedom”. As already discussed on this blog (here, here and here) food critics writing restaurant reviews will usually be able to rely on the defence of fair […]

  2. Eoin says:

    Further update: the Guardian has reported that Burstein has been declared bankrupt after failing to pay St£67,000 in legal fees to the London Evening Standard arising out of his failed libel action against that newspaper, and that he has been told by the Performing Rights Society that the intellectual property rights in – and more importantly, royalties to – his work belonged to a receiver who would collect royalties on behalf of the Standard.

  3. […] have written twice before about the libel action Keith Burstein took concerning a newspaper review of his opera […]

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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I’m Eoin O’Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie – the Irish for rights.

“Cearta” really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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