Schillings go a-shushing

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 11, 2007

Category: Teh Interwebs

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
12:21 pm and is filed
under Teh Interwebs.

Craig Murray – Usmanov Bluster: Usmanov’s lawyers are now blustering that the coverage of Usmanov in Murder in Samarkand is libellous. Given that he has such hyperactive lawyers, is it not strange that the book has been out for over a year, but they have made no move to sue for libel?

Well, there’s a potential defence, right there… should it ever go to court.

Moving on to the relevant Times article:

Times – Arsenal tycoon fury at web ‘smears’: Last week, Usmanov’s lawyers were forced to write to the internet service provider which hosts Murray’s website demanding that it take down a posting referring to Usmanov’s business and personal life. In a letter his lawyers said: “Murray clearly has an axe to grind. [He] has made a number of grossly defamatory and completely unsubstantiated allegations about our client in his book Murder in Samarkand and on his website.

Heh. It’s always fun to watch people crying ‘smear’ play the man and not the ball, isn’t it?

Septicisle – Anyone got a Schilling update: Schillings have finally this afternoon deigned to reply to my two messages sent on Thursday evening. They requested that I remove their “copyrighted” letter…

Copyrighted? Ahahahahahahahahahaha!

They’ll be after the Times next for daring to quote from one of their original works.

Dare I suggest that Schillings are rather reluctant to have their threats made public because they are somehow flawed and/or difficult to recycle?

(Let’s just quietly leave to one side the fact that copyright is normally understood to apply to – *ahem* – your more creative works. One would expect a letter of this type to rely more on fact and data, not imagination.)


  1. julian bond says

    As an aside, the woman who claimed to be from Schillings to me on the phone, also claimed she had sent an email, a fax and would send a follow up email to me. Needless to say I've received nothing. She also tried to trick me into sending an email to her that I had removed the offending post but since I don't have her email address or her name, that's quite hard even if I wanted to.Methinks, Schilling are not the brightest bunch around but then they are probably also making sure they can justify a large fee to their footballing client. It's a game of two halves, this one.

  2. Scott says

    The copyright issue is legally an accurate one. Copyright applies more broadly than the public generally realise. Copyright under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 applies to (among other things) "Literary works" (S 3, 1988 Act). This does not just include creative works. In one case even matters represented in a tabular form were given copyright. Accordingly, letters can be subject to copyright. The way around this, of course, is to rely on defences to copyright infringement. NOw, it is copyright infringement if there is copying of a substantial part of the original work but there are some fair dealing defences where copying is permitted under s 30 of the ACt – including where the copying is for criticism or review (with the quoted material appropriately acknowledged), and there is also a defence if it involves reporting current events. There is also a public interest defence but this is interpreted very strictly and usually only relates to national security matters or the like (as decided by the court). Section 30 of the 1988 Act gives the details on the defences : an up to date version of the section. Hope there's enough information there to be of use.

  3. Manic says

    "The copyright issue is legally an accurate one."I agree*… doesn't stop it from being amusing, though.:o)(*Thus the wording and the classification as an aside.)

  4. Scott says

    Ah, but we lawyers are notoriously humourless and guilty of reading and writing jargon in a technical way. Any jokes pass us by, unless they're in the Latin obviously ;-) . Having seen the septicisle post I thought the review or criticism defence might be useful to flag up.

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