The Judge was asked to give Judgment on a Norwich Pharmacal request that comments posted on the website were defamatory and refused to grant an order disclosing the identity of the author. The Judge heard how the owner had accepted that he had ticked a box acknowledging that he agreed with those terms and conditions in the course of his use of the website.
Therefore the disclosure order was sought ‘does not empower the Court of Session with worldwide jurisdiction to ordain persons such as the respondents [TripAdvisor] to produce information…. I conclude that the approach contended for on behalf of the petitioners would require the court in turn to make a rather alarming entirely global assertion of jurisdiction.’
Mr Clark the owner said “It seems this company can effectively do what it wants in the UK – it’s above the law.’
Trip Advisor said ‘Every single review goes through our tracking system, which maps the how, what, where and when of each review, and we use sophisticated automated tools and algorithms to spot patterns of unusual activity. We back that up with a team of over 200 content specialists, who work 24/7 to maintain the quality of our reviews.’
TripAdvisor’s website and in particular it’s jurisdiction clause states: “This Website is operated by a U.S. entity and this Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Massachusetts, USA. You hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of courts in Massachusetts, USA and stipulate to the fairness and convenience of proceedings in such courts for all disputes arising out of or relating to the use of this Website. You agree that all claims you may have against TripAdvisor arising from or relating to the Site must be heard and resolved in a court of competent subject matter jurisdiction located in the state of Massachusetts. Use of this Website is unauthorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including, without limitation, this paragraph. The foregoing shall not apply to the extent that applicable law in your country of residence requires application of another law and/or jurisdiction and this cannot be excluded by contract.”
So it seems one way of slagging off a competitor is to say what you want about it however bad and there is no cause of action as Trip Advisor is overseas ? But surely not?
Its own website has a take down procedure too -it’s here
(1) Notice to TripAdvisor of Defamatory Content
Statements that are true or that reflect an honest opinion (e.g. negative review) are not usually themselves a basis for defamation. You should carefully consider the facts before you make a claim (and take legal advice if in doubt), as a false claim may expose you to liability.
Warning: Any statement you make may be used in court proceedings. Any false, misleading or inaccurate information provided by you may result in civil and criminal liability.
If you wish to notify TripAdvisor of an allegedly defamatory statement contained on this website please complete the ‘Notice to TripAdvisor of Defamatory Content’ below and send a signed and dated copy to:
Attn: Content Notice Department
141 Needham St.
Newton, MA 02464, USA
You must also include a postal address, your daytime telephone number and an e-mail address so that TripAdvisor may respond to the Notice.
Let me know your thoughts at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org