Godfrey v Demon Internet Ltd [1999] EWHC QB 244

Document type
Court Decision
In the case of Godfrey v Demon Internet, a forged posting was shared through the soc.culture.thai Usenet newsgroup by someone pretending to be the claimant. The latter decided to sue the ISP operating the aforementioned newsgroup, for it did not respond to the notice of infringement made by the claimant, allowing the defamatory content to remain available for 10 days (until its automatic expiry). Demon Internet was found to be liable - it was held that as soon as an online service provider becomes aware (ie. acquires actual knowledge) of the defamatory use of its service, it becomes liable as a publisher of the defamatory information. Then, it has to remove the said content expeditiously, in order to prevent the further dissemination of the defamatory material – or incur further liability.
Topic, claim, or defense
Defamation or Personality Rights
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Lowest Domestic Court
Type of service provider
Host (Including Social Networks)
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Knowledge (Includes Notice and Takedown)