“On advice of legal counsel…”

While in the case of the article in question the NY Times appears to have taken a wise legal decision[reg req], such a high profile media outlet blocking online access to one of its own articles – “On advice of legal counsel, this article is unavailable to readers of nytimes.com in Britain” – in this case to avoid accusations of prejudicing a future trial, is a development that may be of concern. It may also be a route which other media outlets will use to avoid future local libel difficulties.. Added this link may work for those without subsFrom the NY Times

Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University, said restricting information fit with trends across the Internet. “There’s a been a sense that technology can create a form of geographic zoning on the Internet for many years now — that they might not be 100 percent effective, but effective enough,” Mr. Zittrain said. “And there’s even a sense that international courts might be willing to take into account these efforts.

Plans were made at The Times over the weekend to withhold print versions of the article in Britain, as well as news agency and archived versions.

But the issue of the Web was more complicated.

Richard J. Meislin, the paper’s associate managing editor for Internet publishing, said the technological hurdle was surmounted by using some of The Times’s Web advertising technology. The paper could already discern the Internet address of users connecting to the site to deliver targeted marketing, and could therefore deliver targeted editorial content as well. That took several hours of programming.

“It’s never a happy choice to deny any reader a story,” said Jill Abramson, a managing editor at The Times. “But this was preferable to not having it on the Web at all.”


  • Occasional Commentator

    I’ve just managed to access the offending article. As I’m sure have many readers here 🙂 But we should all remember to not mention the contents lest Mick get in trouble with the law over here.

  • I’m in Wicklow and can’t get access to that article either, although yesterday morning I could. Odd.

  • mnob

    I think its only correct that anyone potentially connected with the trial be protected from this type of article. Not that theres anything wrong with the article (yes I have read it) but it really could influence the case.

    However I really hope that the points made in the article can be brought into the open in the UK after the dust has settled, both about the sriousness of the plot and ther reaction to it.

  • qubol

    interestingly they have also blocked access from some well known proxy servers – technorati however comes through if you hoke about.