16 June 1997

C P. McKay, County Solicitor
Nottinghamshire County Council
County Hall
West Bridgford, Nottingham
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
), 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

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

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

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

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.

Sincerely yours,

Peter D. Junger