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Judge allows injunction by Twitter

2 October 2009

A judge has for the first time allowed an injunction to be issued via social networking site Twitter.

On 1 October the High Court granted an order allowing the service of an injunction by Twitter on an unknown user posting threads under the name of Blaney’s Blarney, a blog by lawyer Donal Blaney, of Griffin Law, in Kent.

Donal Blaney argued the unauthorised use of his name breached his copyright and intellectual property rights.

The blogger has until now remained anonymous and the only means of communication is his Twitter account.

The injunction, Blaney said, was “an important step in dealing with online bullying.”

“Today is a great day for the overwhelming majority of well-meaning, decent people who use the internet and a bad day for bullies,” Blaney said on his blog. “It is the day the scales of justice were tipped back in favour of innocent victims. I am proud that my firm has set precedent and made law today.”

In December last year an Australian court allowed the service of an injunction via Facebook after the defendants had refused all other means of service.

Matthew Richardson, the barrister who secured the order in Blaney’s case, said it was “a huge step forward in preventing anonymous abuse of the internet.”

He added: “People have to learn that they can no longer hide behind the cloak of anonymity the internet provides and break the law with impunity.”

But Solicitors Journal columnist Richard Barr said judges have always tried to help claimants in the face of defendants repeatedly refusing to be served by more traditional means.

He said on one occasion he served an injunction by rolling it into a ball and throwing it at the defendant, and that the court deemed it properly served.

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