I have received the following notice from the Nottinghamshire County Solicitor (which is also available on my web site.
To: email@example.com MIME-Version: 1.0 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Gass) Subject: The Jet Report Date: Wed, 11 Jun 97 15:50:36 PDT
Website ULR: http://samsara.law.cwru.edu/comp_law/jetrep.html
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 or any hypertext links 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 mail The Nottinghamshire County Council will issue such Court Proceedings including injunction proceedings or take any action as may be appropriate.
Some of the young persons named in the Report are the subject of deemed care orders made in accordance with the provisions of the Children Act 1989.
The Nottinghamshire County Council has Statutory and Common Law obligatio= ns and duties to those young people. It is in acknowledgement of those Statutory and other Common Law obligations and duties that The Nottinghamshire County Council is taking the steps mentioned in this letter.
Yours faithfully, C P. McKay County Solicitor 11/06/97 Nottinghamshire County Council County HallWest Bridgford Nottingham NG2 7QP
Here is Professor Junger's Reply which is also available on his web site at as ASCII text and as a PostScript text.
16 June 1997
C P. McKay, County Solicitor Nottinghamshire County Council County Hall West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 7QP United Kingdom
My dear Mr. McKay:
I am in receipt of a ``notice'' purportedly sent by you, though contained in electronic mail addressed to me from someone named John Gass. Although I have asked Mr. Gass for your e-mail address, I have not heard from him. And so, assuming that the notice was actually from you, I am compelled to send you this response by regular mail. I will also attempt to send you a copy by electronic mail in care of Mr. Gass and will post copies to the Fight Censorship and Cyberia-L mailing lists.
That notice refers to a disturbing report written by J B Gwatkin and others describing how social workers in the Nottingham Department of Social Services induced a group of abused children to indulge in hysterical fantasies of Satanic rites, a report that your client, the Nottinghamshire County Council, understandably wishes would go away. In the notice you assert that the Nottinghamshire County Council claims the copyright in this report despite the fact that it was written primarily by Mr. Gwatkin, who deems it in the public interest that the report be published, and the fact that it is apparently already a public document. You also assert, correctly, that I have placed a copy of this report on my web site (it is at <http://samsara.law.cwru.edu/comp_law/jetrep.htm>), although you ignore the fact that I and my web site are located in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States of America, a locus where the writs of the courts of the United Kingdom have never run.
As you know, your notice also contains the following rather infelicitous threat: ``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 mail The Nottinghamshire County Council will issue such Court Proceedings including injunction proceedings or take any action as may be appropriate.''
My first reaction was simply to ignore this bit of silliness, grounded as it was on the misconception that the ``Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988'' of the United Kingdom applies to actions taken in the United States when, as I trust you know, that Act specifically provides that copyright holders' exclusive rights apply only to ``acts in the United Kingdom'' and on the belief---or the pretense---that you could somehow persuade the Chancery Division of the High Court to issue an affirmative injunction requiring someone who was not within the Court's jurisdiction and who has had no contacts whatsoever with the United Kingdom to perform acts in Cleveland, Ohio. My inclination to ignore your threat was naturally strengthened by the realization that, should you actually succeed in getting injunctive relief in the United Kingdom, that injunction would be quite unenforceable here in the United States.
But I confess that I found your threats irritating enough that I began to think that I should comply with your demand---publicly.
I have little difficulty in imagining the headlines that would have resulted had I taken such a course of action: ``English Prosecutor Forces U.S. Law Professor to Suppress Report on Satanic Social Workers'' or ``Satanic Coverup Spreads to US.'' Although, mind you, the actual headlines that you have already earned for yourself, like _Private Eye_'s ``Satanic Abuse Special'' or _Salon Magazine_'s ``U.K. tries to censor the Internet---An embarrassing report about a bungled satanic abuse investigation brings out the British blue pencil brigade'', have already made it clear that your efforts to suppress the truth about what happened at Broxtowe have not had quite the result that you and your client desired. After all, no one would have mirrored the Broxtowe report at their sites on the World Wide Web had you not sought to enjoin its original publication. One would have thought that you would have learned that lesson by now. There are at least a dozen web sites where the report is mirrored, not one of which would have existed if you had not sought to suppress its original publication on the web. And at my site alone the report has already been retrieved more than 2,500 times. For those of us who are opposed to governmental censorship of information on the World Wide Web, this reaction is gratifying. I doubt that it is so for your client.
In the end though, I found myself unable to pretend that I am so naive as to be able to take your threats seriously. If I regret this, I at least have the consolation of knowing that you did succeed in bullying poor Jeremy Freeman, a young Canadian who is not learned in the law, into removing the report---and later a link to my mirror of the report---from his web site in British Columbia, with the foreseeable consequences.
It is also my position that, were you to seek an injunction from a court in the United States requiring me to remove the report from my web site because of your client's claim of copyright, even if it could establish that claim, my publication of the report on my web site is ``fair use'' and is protected by the Constitution of the United States.
The report is a compilation of facts, even if the allegations of satanic rites that it discusses were fictions. As the United States Supreme Court made clear in _Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc._, 499 U.S. 340 (1991): ``the copyright in a factual compilation is thin.'' Since your client desires to suppress the work, rather than to publish and sell it, they have suffered no damages from the posting of the report on my web site; since I am making the report available as a public service and receive no compensation for doing so, I have received no profits from that posting: facts that go a long way toward establishing that my posting of the report is fair use under the copyright law of the United States. But the most important fact is that the report that your client wants to suppress is a document whose publication may assist in the prevention of further abuse of children by public authorities who subscribe, for whatever reason, to fantasies about satanic rites. As the report says: ``We have to consider the damage that may have been done to the children in working with them on the basis that they had been involved in experiences such as the slaughter of sheep and the killing of babies that had not actually happened. What has been done to [Mary] by convincing her that she was a child murderer who had indulged in acts of cannibalism or that she might kill again if she did not feel guilty?''
I initially mirrored the report on my web site as part of the materials that I have collected relating to freedom of speech on the Internet for my course in Computing and the Law and as a demonstration of the futility of trying to suppress any document that has once been published on the World Wide Web. The other documents that I have mirrored there are, I fear, of interest only because of the efforts to suppress them; the report that you and the Nottinghamshire County Council desire to disappear is, on the other hand, an important document that must be available to family therapists, police departments, departments of social welfare, and lawyers throughout the world. It is an important historical document, especially in its tracing the spread of satanic hysteria to sources in the United States. As the report says on this point:
We had previously been made aware that an extreme right wing branch of the Republican Party funded by Presidential Candidate, Lyndon La Rouche had been spreading material throughout the USA claiming that Day Centre Workers, Social Workers and other 'lefties' were Satanists abusing children and that this was part of a communist conspiracy to undermine the family. Apparently extreme right-wingers were unhappy at the allegation of parents sexually abusing their children as they perceived this as an attack upon the family. As a response they had conceived the conspiracy theory as an alternative explanation. We do not know whether this was an influence in the USA cases but we understand many of the convictions were of Day Care Workers based solely upon the bizarre testimony of young children as related to experts without any actual corroborative evidence. In view of this scenario and our research into American cases we would not accept that any literature from the USA is reliable unless it is supported by corroborative empirical evidence.
More importantly the publication of the report may assist the forces of reason in rejecting the evil that once infected the social workers of Nottingham. That is, after all, why its author, Mr. Gwatkin, who is a social worker himself, felt that it should be published.
I am not, by the way, insensitive to your claim that: ``The Nottinghamshire County Council has Statutory and Common Law obligations and duties to those young people. It is in acknowledgement of those Statutory and other Common Law obligations and duties that The Nottinghamshire County Council is taking the steps mentioned in this letter.'' But I am afraid that I do not believe you. The report, after all, has been carefully edited to hide the identity of the young people who were the victims in this sordid affair. In any case, even were I to try to suspend my disbelief the fact remains that I agree with the authors of the report when they say: ``we do not consider that suspending disbelief should also mean a suspension of commonsense or the use of critical faculties.''
I shall therefore not comply with your demands.
Peter D. Junger