Jeremy Freeman's Case - Canada

Jeremy Freeman has been forced to remove the JET Report and the Links to the JET Report by the Nottinghamshire CC

The following is a letter sent to one of the mirror sites in Canada at It is interesting to note that the UK Nottinghamshire County Council threatened to sue someebody outside the UK and it will be interesting to see how far they will go as the number of mirror sites continue to increase.

Dear Sir


Website ULR

You currently hold on your Website the text of the above report. The purpose of this message is to set out the Nottinghamshire County Council’s position with regard to its copyright rights in the report.

Copyright in the report is vested in the Nottinghamshire County Council and has been since 1990 when the report was produced and as such the Nottinghamshire County Council has rights as copyright owner under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Any copying of the report is an infringement of the Nottinghamshire County Council’s copyright.

For the avoidance of doubt the copying of the report on this Internet Website is an infringement of copyright.

The provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 includes storing of the work in any medium by electronic means. Neither you nor the owners of the Website have sought permission from the Nottinghamshire County Council as copyright holder to store the Report by electronic means.

I therefore give you notice that unless the report is removed from the Website forthwith and for the avoidance of doubt within 24 hours of receipt by you of this E mail the Nottinghamshire County Council will issue such Court Proceedings including injunction proceedings or take any action as may be appropriate.

On the basis that some of those named in the Report may still be the subject of Wardship orders you are potentially in Contempt of Orders of the Court of the Supreme Judicature.

Yours faithfully,

C P. McKay County Solicitor
Nottinghamshire County Council
County Hall
West Bridgford
Nottingham NG2 7QP

Jeremy's case has been covered on the News.COM - 'Drop Report, Brits Tell Canadian Site' an article by Janet Kornblum.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) issued another press release following Jeremy Freeman's case and it is hereby reproduced from that press release dated June 9, 1997.

June 9, 1997

Immediate Release - Nottinghamshire County Council claims that WWW links are copyrightable

Jeremy Freeman, who believes that any information concerning the public should be made available for the public to read, mirrored the controversial JET Report in Canada following the media attention the UK case got from the Internet media such as News.Com, Wired News and the MSN News.

He initially received a letter by e-mail from the Nottinghamshire County Council’s solicitors which stated that the provisions of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 includes storing of the work in any medium by electronic means. Neither you nor the owners of the Website have sought permission from the Nottinghamshire County Council as copyright holder to store the Report by electronic means.

Jeremy Freeman took this letter seriously and decided to remove the report from his web site but decided to put a hypertext link to Professor Junger’s web site who also mirrors the site in the USA.

But this did not stop the County Council’s solicitors contacting again and this time they stated that ‘whilst we note that you have removed the text of the JET Report from your website you hold on your website a hypertext link from which the full text of the report may be accessed. The crucial part of the letter stated that:

‘This is still publication on your website and for so long as the hypertext link remains it will continue to be an infringement of Nottinghamshire County Council’s copyright by you.’
A number of recent incidents are similar to the actions of the Nottinghamshire County Council as far as the hypertext links are concerned. First, a Scottish online news server (Shetland News) has been stopped from linking to the pages of Shetland Times, a daily newspaper, on the grounds of copyright infringement. Secondly, the publishers of German and Dutch Web pages have been subjected to legal investigation for linking to Radikal, a publication banned in Germany. This followed another online German investigation into Holocaust denial pages earlier in 1996. Thirdly, in the Washington Post complaint, where CNN, and Reuters were among other plaintiffs, an online news server called Total News has linked the plaintiffs web pages into its own web page by using framing technology.

Recently with respect to the Shetland Times case Professor Oppenheim states that:

‘Linking of Web sites to one another is extremely common and is, arguable, both the raison d’etre of the WWW and the reason for its success. It is custom and practice, and so if a copyright owner puts up a Web page, he must expect others to link into his site. Services such as web search engines could not operate without this ability.’
[See Charles Oppenheim, ‘The Internet Copyright Case and its Implications for Users of the WWW’, 6 December 1996]

Linking is encouraged on the Internet because it ties different web pages on related topics and provides an effective system for browsing in the information superhighway. There are millions of web pages on the Internet and it would be quite impossible to find anything without the use of WWW links. It may be argued that if the likes of Shetland Times and Nottinghamshire CC win their battle claiming that the hypertext links are also copyrightable the outcome would have a chilling effect on the development of the Internet within the UK and elsewhere.

Andrew Oram, moderator of the Cyber Rights mailing list for Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility in the USA, suggested that:

‘Information can sometimes sway or disturb members of the public, but the positive effects of an information infrastructure overwhelm the scattered negative ones. Let’s focus on using the Internet to improve public discourse, and not try to restrict its use to assuage the gullible or overly sensitive.
Yaman Akdeniz, head of the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) group stated that:
The new technology is always ahead of the existing laws, and also Internet’s multi-national environment makes it difficult to enforce national legislation. Attempts to regulate or restrain speech on the Internet have generally failed in the last few years. The US attempts to regulate indecency on the Internet or the German attempts to limit access to hate speech material or to limit access to Radikal and the famous Canadian gag order about the Homolka case proved ineffective on the Internet as will be the case with the availability of JET Report on the Internet because the genie is already out of the bottle.
Notes for the media:

Jeremy Freeman’s web site is available at

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) has initially received a request from the three journalists to help them to set up a mirror page over the Internet. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) issued a call to the on-line community before the injunction was received for setting up mirror sites all around the world. The online community responded so quickly to mirror the notorious JET Report. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) will monitor the mirrors and provide up-to-date information related to the Court case as well.

Broxtowe Case involved Britain’s largest ever prosecution of multi-generational incest in which the defendants received sentences of up to ten years is being made available on the Internet in the hope that an informed readership will be able to draw its own conclusions.

The version of the report published on the World Wide Web in the public interest identifies neither the victims nor the family at the centre of the Broxtowe Case. The author of this version, John Gwatkin, formerly an Area Director for Notts Social Services, approves its publication and has a written a special introduction which is also on the Web Site.

These problems with this kind of injunctions were predicted some time ago, and a possible solution was proposed, in a paper published at Pragocrypt 96 by Ross Anderson.

The case against the three journalists and author of the report, John Gwatkin, will be heard in September.

Back to the coverage of the JET Report by Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)