A blogger who convinced the High Court to allow a court order to be communicated by Twitter has said that the move was a success. Donal Blaney claims that the rogue tweeter has agreed to stop impersonating him.
Blaney, a right wing blogger, took action last week against an unknown individual who had been posting on the Twitter micro-blogging site under a variant of his name.
Blaney runs a blog called Blaney's Blarney and posts updates on Twitter under the name Donal_Blaney. An unknown person posted ten times to Twitter under the name Blaneysblarney.
Blaney asked the High Court to grant an order telling the unknown person to stop posting and to identify themselves. A statement on the website of the law firm that employs Blaney said that the activity was "breaching the copyright and intellectual property of the blog’s owner".
That order was made and, because the person's identity was a mystery, served on them via the Twitter service.
The action has been successful, according to Blaney's most recent update on his blog.
"The hitherto anonymous individual who infringed my intellectual property rights and set up the fake @blaneyblarney account on Twitter has, on service of the injunction requiring him to stop and to reveal his identity, agreed to comply with the order," he wrote today. "I am in the process of negotiating a settlement with this individual."
Litigation expert George Lubega of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that the High Court's permission to serve an order via the micro-blogging site was a sign of its pragmatic attitude.
"Courts are becoming much more realistic about these sorts of things," he said. "The usual method of serving documents is through the post, but court orders are served by fax, by email. I've even served them, effectively, by reading them out over the telephone, so it is not a million miles from that to serving it by Twitter."
There could be a danger that it is not absolutely certain that a person under legal attack knows about the case, though, he warned. "A potential problem might be that the person at the wrong end of proceedings could say that they were not aware of the order," he said.
Lubega said, though, that many interim injunctions are in effect awarded without the other party having a chance to defend themselves. They are given that opportunity subsequently, he said.
"It happens all the time that interim injunctions are served without the other party knowing about it, but they would tend to have a short period of operation and the person would then have a chance to return to court to argue their case," he said.
Blaney said on his blog that he was running a poll to help him decide to which charity damages paid by the impersonator should be donated.