Award-winning reporter Tristin Hopper says The National Post geo-blocked his article about UK celebrity injunction after being contacted by internationally renowned law firm Fasken Martineau
Last month, I blogged about efforts by David Furnish—husband of pop singer Elton John—to censor journalists and Internet users from reporting or discussing his alleged extra-marital affair with another married couple.
Furnish hired at least two London law firms to enforce a high court injunction he obtained in January preventing newspapers in England and Wales from reporting the story.¹
But efforts to squash the story didn’t end there.
The story as reported by the Daily Mail earlier this year
In April, UK-based anti-piracy company Web Sheriff filed 12 copyright complaints with Google requesting it remove a total of 447 URLs linking to articles about the scandal.
Among the websites flagged for removal was Toronto-based publication The National Post, whose April 11, 2016 article, “Why the English media could go to jail for reporting on the olive oil trysts of Elton John’s husband” by WMA award-winning reporter Tristin Hopper, did not skimp on the grisly details of Furnish’s alleged affair.
Via a US proxy, the National Post’s April 11, 2016 article
Although Google didn’t enforce Web Sheriff’s complaint, Hopper’s article was later geo-blocked from being viewed in the UK.
When I asked Hopper about Web Sheriff, he said the Post geo-blocked his article after it was contacted by Fasken Martineau, an internationally renowned Canadian business law and mitigation firm with offices in London and Toronto.
“Web Sheriff did not contact us, but we did hear from a lawyer hired by Mr. Furnish,” said Hopper, referring to the Canadian firm.
He added: “It might be Furnish or Elton John’s regular Canadian lawyer. At a certain level of fame, I imagine you’ve got a lawyer on speed dial for every major country, whether it be for copyright issues or signing contracts or the like.”
National Post reporter Tristin Hopper
About the Post’s decision to geo-block his article in the UK, Hopper said: “[T]he legality is murky, but I do believe it was done on the belief that we become subject to UK law once we enter UK web space.”
Fasken Martineau did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
¹I live in Northern Ireland, therefore not bound by the injunction in England and Wales.
See also: “The Bitch is Back,” my September 12, 2016 article about Furnish’s efforts to censor online news stories about his alleged affair.
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