Former MI5 agent and Guernsey native Annie Machon sez, "In the teeth of all the anti-SOPA and -ACTA demos, the Channel Island of Guernsey is proposing it become an offshore libel tourism haven for image control. The lawyers see this as a potentially huge revenue stream, much as the tax haven laws have been or the island over the last 3 decades."
The idea is that rich people could register their perpetual "image rights" in Guernsey, and sue people who hurt their feelings. I'm not clear on how they enforce their judgments -- does anyone know what sort of reciprocal arrangements Guernsey has with other territories for collecting on civil judgments from its courts?
Jason Romer is the managing partner and intellectual property specialist at the large "wealth management" legal firm Collas Crill. According to his firm's website, he also, coincidentally, sits on the island's Commercial IP Steering Group and the Drafting Sub-Committee, and is thus conveniently on hand to ease the new legislation through the States.
Also coincidentally, he appears to be an enthusiastic advocate of Eady's infamous "super-injunction" regime which has had such a chillingly expensive effect on the British media in the last decade.
So, if this law is passed, anyone, anywhere around the world will be able (if they can afford it) to register their "image rights" in Guernsey. These rights can even last indefinitely after the original owner's death.
This means that anyone, anywhere, who feels that their "image" has been inappropriately reproduced/copied/traduced/pirated - the correct legal terminology is hazy - can then sue through the Guernsey courts for redress. This could potentially be a powerful new global tool for the suppression of free speech. As public outcry swells internationally against the US IP laws, SOPA and PIPA, and across Europe against the utterly undemocratic ACTA, this new law is a giant leap precisely in the wrong direction.
A new threat to media freedoms (Thanks, Annie!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.