Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Craig Murray documents - FCO threatens injuction

I posted about Craig Murray a while ago; Craig is the former the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who has taken a stand over use of intelligence obtained by torture. Craig has been publishing official documents on his blog to support the claims made in his book "Murder in Samarkand". Craig received a letter from lawyers acting on behalf of the Foreign Office demanding that he remove the documents from his website by 4pm Monday 10th July or he will be issued with a high court injunction. It is alleged he is in breach of Crown Copyright. Read the letter on the Blairwatch website. some of the documents he has posted were obtained by FOI requests.

The situation is timely with respect to the recent campaign (www.freeourdata.org.uk) that has started up to try and reform copyright of public information and remove restriction such as crown copyright, in the US no such restriction exists (See here). Blairwatch have also made sure the documents are now in the public domain via a number of servers worlwide - making the purpose of the injuction largely pointless aprt from to silence Murray.

No mention seems to have made of the click use licences from the Office of Publis Sector Information (formerly HMSO) that can be applied for to re-use crown copyright information and the many waivers that are available. I have a licence to cover re-publishing of material I receive via FOIA from applicable public bodies.

Craig Murray's blog - includes response to the FCO letter

The background - Murder In Samarkand - Documents

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48) Section 163 covers Crown Copyright

Wikipdedia - Craig Murray

The mainstream media haven't given the issue much coverage, apart from:

The Guardian - Former ambassador posts censored passages from memoir on website
"The government is threatening to sue former ambassador Craig Murray for breach of copyright if he does not remove from his website intelligence material that was censored out of his newly published memoirs."

The Register - FCO takes on Murray and the blogs over Murder in Samarkand
"The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office is following up on its earlier moves against former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray with the threat of an injunction. Alongside the publication of his book, Murder in Samarkand, last week Murray posted a collection of supporting documents on his web site (here); the current FCO action demands the removal of these."

Ohmy News - Samarkand Shock
"Last week Gareth Buttrill wrote to Craig Murray, on behalf of the treasury solicitor, claiming that 13 of the 15 documents, and parts of a 14th, were governed by Crown Copyright on the basis that they were "produced by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of their duties." As such, reproducing the documents was a violation of copyright. "Further, even if a document is released under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information Act that does not entitle you to make further reproductions of that document by, for example, putting them on your Web site or making further copies to be provided to third parties. The copyright remains enforceable," Buttrill wrote."

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