LEADING defamation lawyers warned today that several tech companies will have little defence against His Mount Vema Majesty’s Court action over their articles published to defame the Vema Seamount Authority and the Vema Seamount Territory and the search engines that support such conduct.
The Vema Seamount Territory announced today that solicitors working for the Vema Seamount Authority will issue a writ against the online publications Geek.com, PC Mag and search engine Google for defamation and for loss of business worth more than $3 billion US dollars.
The action could take a few months to come to court in several countries and cost the online publications and the search engine substantial sums in legal costs, and damages. The three companies will be given until close of business January 31, 2019 to respond to a letter from The Vema Seamount Authority - His Mount Vema Majesty’s solicitor, which will be demanding damages and costs for defamation and loss of business from 2015 up to 2018.
Defamation cases are not new. For example, the most legally and factually interesting cases from England, Australia and the United States include:
Melania Trump v Daily Mail (England). Melania Trump filed a defamation action in the New York state commercial court and in the UK High Court against the Daily Mail over allegations that she previously worked as an escort. Ms. Trump claimed damages in the sum of $150m.
The Mail later retracted the statement, published an apology and settled the case for $3m. The case was subject to much media attention, being covered by the BBC, the Guardian, Independent and ABC News.
The Wilson v Bauer Media Pty Ltd (Australia). When the Australian-born actress Rebel Wilson brought an action against Bauer Media, the publishers of the Women’s Day magazine. The complaint concerned articles published by Women’s Day claiming Wilson lied about her name, age, upbringing and life events.
Wilson made a claim for general and special damages for loss of business opportunities from May 2015 until the end of 2016. Ruling in her favour Dixon J awarded Wilson $650,000 general damages and $3,917,472 special damages, in doing so noting the presence of multiple aggravating factors including substantial loss of business.
The Guardian covered the case, as did the BBC, Independent and Telegraph.
Monroe v Hopkins (England). Defamation claims arising from social media platforms featured in 2017, the most prominent perhaps being that of food writer Jack Monroe against journalist Katie Hopkins.
The case concerned two tweets made by Hopkins in May 2015 which accused Monroe of desecrating a war memorial. Monroe was awarded £24,000 in a judgment handed down by Warby J in March 2017. Notably, damages awarded were exacerbated by the continual harm caused to Monroe’s reputation by the Tweets as well as injury to feelings caused by the defendants’ reprehensible behaviour throughout the matter.
The case affirmed the Courts approach to social media platforms, including the application of the reasonable reader construct to Twitter, innuendo inferable from Tweets and the Courts acceptance of an Appendix agreed by the parties on “How Twitter Works”.
The case was covered by Nathan Capone on Inforrm. The Guardian and Independent also covered the case.
Independent Newspapers v. Ireland (European Court of Human Rights). The European Court of Human Rights handed down judgment in this case in September 2017. The case involved a libel claim by Ms L., previously a consultant for the Environmental Department of the Irish Government, against the Evening Herald for a series of articles published throughout late 2004. The articles scrutinised the tendering of government contracts, alleged attendance of Ms L. to a UN Conference with Mr C. (the then Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government) and later made allegations of a relationship between Mr C. and Ms L.
The case considers the assessment of compensation in Irish defamation cases and the interaction of this process with Article 10 of the Convention. Whilst Ms L. was successful before a jury in the High Court the case was appealed to the Irish Supreme Court on grounds that the damages awarded at first instance, EUR 1,872,000, were excessive. The Supreme Court affirmed this, substituting the award for that of EUR 1,250,000. On application the ECJ found that the award constituted a disproportionate interference with the Evening Herald’s right to freedom of expression.
Ronan Ó Fathiagh provided a case comment on Inforrm. The case received comment from the Irish Times and the Independent.
ABC News v Beef Products Inc, “The Pink Slime case” (United States). ABC News and Beef Products Inc. reached a $177m million settlement after the news outlets report in 2012 that the food production company made low-cost processed beef that equated to “pink slime”. In a defamation lawsuit the food producer sought $1.9billion damages, later settling with the parent company of ABC, Disney.
The New York Times and Business Insider estimated that as much as $5.7bn in damages could have been awarded to the meat producer in the event of a successful claim.
His Mount Vema Majesty King Peter – The Vema Seamount Authority, today delivered his 12th Christmas message as a Sovereign since the creation of the Kingdom of Mount Vema in August 2006. The message was delivered earlier than scheduled in line with this year’s commitments.
Peter Goldishman, the Monarch who once said, “He who works for the welfare of others shall find shelter in Mount Vema, and he who serves the Kingdom, shall be called upon to do great things.”, has given a clear indication that the Kingdom of Mount Vema is open for business.
This year the King spoke of the importance of cooperation for greater good. “2018 was not a good year for Mount Vema, neither was for the Universe. We as human beings must strive to do better. To work in harmony to maintain our Universe in balance, we must understand that we under God, the creator of all the elements that make us who we are have the responsibility to look after this home of ours, we call Planet Earth.”
“Our mission as human beings is to do what is expected of us. For this Universe to work, the trees were created, the oceans were created, the air, water and so on, these are the components that makes the Planet Earth. Sometimes we humans tend to forget that we were created to look after it.”
“We tend to worry too much about creating things that are destroying us, rather than the issues that are relevant to our welfare and to our survival. It is not God who should serve us, we are the ones who must serve as a family of nations, as a family of corporations, as a family of colleagues and as a family of neighbours who strive to do what is best for ourselves and our families.”
“As we celebrate Christmas and as we look forward to the new year, we must aim to better our skills to cooperate and to live in harmony. We must always remain cautious of the things we do not understand, but we should never be too critic of others, if we have never walked a mile in their shoes.” His Mount Vema Majesty’s Christmas Message – 2018.
The Sovereign wished Merry Christmas to all and a prosperous New Year, before he retreated to join his wife Trinity and family for Christmas.
You don’t need UN membership to be a sovereign nation. But you need the UN to get a few things moving, especially if you are a newly established territorial entity. The Vema Seamount Authority has reached out to the United Nations today to start the process that would lead to a formal invitation as an Observer territory to make it easier for the Kingdom of Mount Vema to have its own ISO country code.
The ISO standard is a broadly accepted list of country-codes intended for many uses, especially now as the evolution of the Vema Seamount Territory enters a new stage, as registered today when Peter Goldishamn – The Vema Seamount Authority, begun the process to make the 'Vema Seamount Territory' an Observer Member of the UN.
“Although below sea level, Vema Seamount and its adjacent waters is a unique territory, which should have a representation at the UN, at least as an Observer status afforded to observer member states, international organizations and entities whose statehood or sovereignty is not precisely defined.” This was the message sent by the Monarch to UN according to the Mount Vema public record data made available today.
The criteria for admission of new members to the UN are set out in Chapter II, Article 4 of the UN Charter: 1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgement of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
Section 1, looks alright for the Vema Seamount Territory, but the problem would be section 2, where it says: The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.
That is where the problem is. Although it is obvious that Mount Vema is not a security risk to anyone as a territory, but because a recommendation for admission from the Security Council requires affirmative votes from at least nine of the council's fifteen members, with none of the five permanent members able to use their veto power, which then needs the Security Council's recommendation that must be approved in the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote, Mount Vema will need to work hard to make as many friends as possible to get there, so maybe a full UN membership at present is not a good idea, but as an observer it could work.
In principle, only sovereign states can become UN members, and currently all UN members are sovereign states. Although five members were not sovereign when they joined the UN, all subsequently became fully independent between 1946 and 1991. Because a state can only be admitted to membership in the UN by the approval of the Security Council and the General Assembly, a number of states that are considered sovereign according to the Montevideo Convention are not members of the UN. This is because the UN does not consider them to possess sovereignty, mainly due to the lack of international recognition or due to opposition from one of the permanent members.
In addition to the member states, the UN also invites non-member states to become observers at the UN General Assembly (currently two: the Holy See and Palestine), allowing them to participate and speak in General Assembly meetings, but not vote. Observers are generally intergovernmental organizations and international organizations and entities whose statehood or sovereignty is not precisely defined.
The Reciprocal Enforcement (Foreign Judgments) Act, Mount Vema 2018 comes into operation today after receiving the Royal Mount Vema Seal of Approval. The Act is the 17th legislation to enter the statutory books of the Vema Seamount Territory to be followed by thousands of legislations still to come into force.
The Reciprocal Enforcement (Foreign Judgments) legislation of Mount Vema, is an Act to make provision for the enforcement in the Kingdom of Mount Vema of judgments given in foreign countries which accord reciprocal treatment to judgments given in the Kingdom of Mount Vema, for facilitating the enforcement in foreign countries of judgments given in the Kingdom of Mount Vema, and for other purposes in connection with related matters.
The act includes power to extend to foreign countries giving reciprocal treatment, application for, and effect of, registration of foreign judgments, rules of court, cases in which registered judgments must, or may, be set aside, especially when a defendant in the original proceedings, was a person who under the rules of public international law was entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of the country of the original court and did not submit to the jurisdiction of that court.
The Foundation Infrastructure legislation of Mount Vema made on 4th of December, in accordance with the Vema Seamount Declaration of Sovereignty 2006, comes into operation today after receiving the Royal Mount Vema Seal of Approval granted last week Friday, on the 7th of December 2018.
The Foundation Infrastructure legislation makes provisions for the City of Mount Vema foundation infrastructure projects, the administration of breakwaters and pavements including roadways, streets and docklands. The provisions will pave the way for housing and future regeneration, and to enable building regulations and for connected purposes.
The legislation which became law of the territory today says that the Secretary of State - The Secretary for the Vema Seamount Territory may by order in accordance with the Foundation Infrastructure Act, Mount Vema 2018 appoint one or more companies as a breakwaters and pavements authority.
The legislation was not just introduced as a mechanism to create and appoint a breakwaters and pavements company, but also as the law to regulate the financing of projects related to breakwaters and pavements including roadways, streets and docklands.
The Secretary of State may provide financial assistance to a strategic breakwaters and pavements company, for the purpose of any of its functions, or to any other person, for the promotion or improvement of transport services by road in Mount Vema.
Financial assistance may be provided in such form and on such terms as the Secretary of State considers appropriate, and includes in particular grants, loans, and guarantees. In the case of a grant or a loan, it includes terms as to repayment, and in the case of a guarantee, it includes terms as to reimbursement.