Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)

For Immediate Release -- 4 August 1997

UK JET Report Controversy over - Notts CC backs down

The Nottinghamshire County Council appeared to concede that the mirror campaign organised by Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) had rendered its legal action counterproductive, and the formerly banned JET Report is expected to be available at its original place at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~dlheb/Default.htm sometime later this week.

According to the official Nottinghamshire County Council Press Release "bringing this action was the right thing to do", but the Chair of Social Services Tim Bell stated that:

"We have been faced with a technology running at a pace which exceeds the law's ability to adopt to deal with it and the best interests of Nottinghamshire people would not be served by running up large bills in difficult areas of law."

The Council even paid the legal costs of one of the defendants, Mr John Gwatkin.

According to Yaman Akdeniz, head of the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) group, "the decision of the County Council is probably influenced by the recent decision of the UK police to drop charges in an 18 month investigation involving the availability of a blasphemous poem by James Kirkup on the Internet."

"The issue in the availability of the JET Report is public interest and freedom of information. The wide availability of the JET Report on the Internet is just another of this kind of colloboration by the netizens on the Internet against nation-states and their local bodies. The global Internet does not recognise boundaries and will resist any attempts by individual governments and law enforcement bodies to suppress or censor information on it."

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) would like to thank all the netizens involved with the dissemination of the JET Report on the Internet and also to the Internet media who has covered the issue widely so far.

Yaman Akdeniz, also stated that:

"There are currently 35 mirror sites and every time the County Council tried to stop the publication of the JET Report, their action spawned another dozen mirror sites. This case is reminiscent of the unsuccessful attempts of the UK Government to stop the publication of the Spycatcher novel in 1986 in Australia which involved the memoirs of Peter Wright, a senior officer in MI5 from 1955 to 1976. Spycatcher was also published in the USA and Canada following its initial publication in Australia. As in the case of Spycatcher it proved impossible to stop the publication of the JET Report; the genie is out of the bottle."

"It may be argued that if the Nottinghamshire CC was successful with their court action 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."




Background information:

The Joint Enquiry Report into the 1988 Broxtowe Case, the inside story of UK's first 'Satanic Ritual Abuse' case was published for the first time on the Internet by three UK journalists (Nick Anning, David Hebditch and Margaret Jervis) in May 1997. The report which was written in 1989 by a joint enquiry team ('JET') of police and social workers in the aftermath of the 'Broxtowe Case' has been made available on the Internet in the hope that an informed readership will be able to draw its own conclusions.

But the Nottinghamshire County Council, who holds the copyright for the JET Report has threatened the three journalists with legal action if they fail to remove the controversial JET Report from their Internet Web Site on the ground that any copying of the report is an infringement of the Nottinghamshire County Council's copyright in Britain.

On the application of the Nottingham County Council, Judge Boggis QC, of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice granted an injunction against the three journalists on the 3rd of June 1997 four days after the report has been published on their web page. Following the injunction, the JET Report has been withdrawn from its original place.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), a non-profit civil liberties organisation, has received a request from the three journalists to help them to set up a mirror page over the Internet following the possibility of a legal action by the Nottinghamshire County Council on June 2, 1997. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) issued a call to the on-line community later on that day for setting up mirror sites all around the world.

The Internet community has heard the rallying cry and responded, heeding the call of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) by disseminating the notorious JET Report so widely that there is little the Nottinghamshire County Council could do to plug the leak. But they managed to stop a Canadian and a German web site mirroring the JET Report by threatening the owners of the web sites with legal action. Professor Peter Junger in the US and Dr Michael Baker in Australia refused to comply with similar threats and replied to the Nottinghamshire County Council publicly. There are currently 35 mirror sites of the JET Report all around the world.

Contact Information:

Mr Yaman Akdeniz
Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
Telephone: 0113-2335033 Fax: 0113- 2335056 E-mail: [email protected]
Url: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/pgs/yaman/yaman.htm

Please use the following information to contact Mr Yaman Akdeniz between 23rd July and 1st September 1997:

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 00 90 532 4340013
Fax: 00 90 216 3261449

Notes for the Media:

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 original inquiry resulted in a five-volume, 600-page detailed report. 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.

See http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~dlheb/jetrepor.htm

This press release will also appear through Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) pages.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/pgs/yaman/yaman.htm

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a non-profit civil liberties organisation founded on January 10, 1997. Its main purpose is to promote free speech and privacy on the Internet and raise public awareness of these important issues. The Web pages have been online since July 1996. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) started to become involved with national Internet-related civil liberties issues following the release of the DTI white paper on encryption in June 1996 and the Metropolitan Police action to censor around 130 newsgroups in August 1996.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) covers such important issues as the regulation of child pornography on the Internet and UK Government's encryption policy. The organisation provides up-to-date information related to free speech and privacy on the Internet. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a member of various action groups on the Internet and also a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (see ) which has over 30 member organisations worldwide.