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Google Sidewiki, Carter Ruck and the Trafigura injunction

October 13, 2009 One Comment

Update 2: The Carter Ruck sidewiki now has 21 yeses. And the sidewiki on the Trafigura site has 11.

Update The Carter Ruck sidewiki now has 12 yeses. And there is a sidewiki on the Trafigura site now (with only one yes - hint, hint) that says:

Guardian Controversy

On Tuesday 13 October, 2009, Trafigura was caught up in a controversial gagging order against The Guardian newspaper in the UK in relation to a parliamentary question that was due to be asked by Paul Farrelly about the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste on the Ivory Coast.

The issue became something of a cause celebre on social networks including Twitter and Facebook, and is considered to be an exemplar of what has come to be know as the Streisand Effect - ie the act of attempting to surpress information leads to its widespread distribution.

(Thanks to Jo Wadsworth for the tipoff).

Original post I won't rehearse the Trafigura injunction story - google it if you haven't heard about it. But I thought that google's sidewiki could provide some fun - I could go and add comments to the home page of both the Carter Ruck website and the Trafigura site.

Sidewiki and Carter Ruck

Somewhere had got there first (you'll need the google toolbar to see the sidewiki) with Carter Ruck. Josh Dayson has written:

R.I.P Carter-Ruck In loving memory of the people that gagged the Guardian reporting on the British parliament. Was brought down by Twitter on the 13th October 2009.

After I tweeted a link to it, it went up to 8 'yeses' so I guess it'll stay for a while.

Sidewiki and Trafigura

No one had written anything on the Trafigura site, so I quickly wrote a sidewiki that described the background to the injunction and linked to:

And then I completely chickened out and deleted it.

I guess this is what their lawyers want - even on a day when Trafigura ostensibly lost, the UK libel laws worry me too much to (a) leave the sidewiki there or (b) link to the Minton report from this blog.

As I've pointed out  before, reporting restrictions and bloggers don't really mix. I don't have any way to find out what the other injunctions around this case are (the BBC says that "the injunction on reporting the contents of the Minton report remains in place.")

Is it OK to mention the Minton report? Clearly. Is it OK to describe what's in it? It would seem not. Can I link to it? I guess not - but who knows? I have no way to see the injunction.

And while everyone jumps up and down about how Twitter beat Carter Ruck, the ability for these injunctions to be put in place remains. There are clearly others affecting other people or companies that we don't know about. And there are clearly further injunctions about Trafigura we don't know about.

Now, who's got nothing to lose and fancies writing a sidewiki?

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  4. Google Sidewiki: the abuse of UK newspapers begins
  5. Sidestepping Google Sidewiki: changing URLs won’t help

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