You may have noticed an addition to the User Reviews section of our product pages before Christmas. When you leave a user review, you can now leave your details. “But why on earth would I want or need to do that?” we hear you cry! Well, there’s actually a very, very good reason to do this, which our General Counsel (resident lawm’n) has helped explain below.
Yep, this is a blog about legal gubbins, I’m afraid – but it affects our Community so please do find time to give this a read…
After leaving a review, you’ll now see this.
‘Tis more important than you may realise…
All product reviews that are posted to our site are reviewed by a trained human being to make sure that they:
– appear to have been authored by another human being (and not Skynet)
– are relevant
– are not offensive
This review takes place as soon as possible after a user review is posted. Our trained human being is well aware that not all people like all of the whiskies, spirits and other bits and bobs we sell and will allow negative feedback that falls within the bounds of fair comment to be published. You will note that most of the products we sell have reviews from customers who loved it as well as from customers who weren’t so keen. This is A Good Thing.
Recently, a number of negative comments were removed from one product on the website and this was noticed by one of our eagle-eyed users. Removing these negative comments was absolutely not the product of anybody here at Master of Malt (human or otherwise) seeking to massage the customer ratings for a third party product.
Instead, we were simply following our legal obligations under section 5 of the Defamation Act 2013 and the Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013. This legislation provides a defence for the operator of a website that publishes defamatory material written by a third party, but only if certain conditions are met. In basic terms, if a person who considers that a product review published on the Master of Malt website is defamatory sends us a formal complaint, then we have only a limited period of time in which to either contact the author of that product review or to remove the relevant product review.
Defamation. Serious stuff.
Fair Comment should be preserved though, so Please Leave Your Details!
In the case mentioned above, we received a formal complaint about some of the User Reviews. Many of the reviews that were complained about followed a similar format and style and, crucially, none of the authors had left genuine contact details. The result? We had no alternative but to remove all of the reviews that were complained about.
The moral of this tale is that reviewers who want to share honestly held opinions with other users should leave their contact details.
By providing your contact details whenever you make a contribution, you will have the opportunity to defend any comments that you make and prevent them from simply being removed.
We probably won’t even laugh at your firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address. Probably.
Oh, and if you would like to challenge as defamatory any content which we publish, you’ll need to ensure that your complaint to us contains all of the required legal gubbins, viz.:
(i) your name and e-mail address;
(ii) where on the Master of Malt website the content complained of is posted;
(iii) what the content complained of says and why it is defamatory;
(iv) what meaning you attribute to the content complained of;
(v) the aspects of the content which you believe are factually inaccurate or opinions not supported by fact;
(vi) confirmation that you do not have sufficient information about the person who posted the content to bring proceedings against that person; and
(vii) whether you consent to your name and e-mail address being provided to the poster of the relevant content (where we are able to identify that person).
The Chaps at Master of Malt