The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Wednesday, 9 August 2006


Mum's the word in website war

The IPKat has been reading with fascination an item on ITV's website about the threat by childcare author Gina Ford (right) to have a popular website used by thousands of British mothers shut down. Ford's lawyers want the Mumsnet site disabled after claiming that postings contained allegedly defamatory remarks about the British childcare expert. Ford, a former maternity nurse, advocates strict techniques on how to get newborns into "a routine", including "controlled crying", in her controversial best-seller The New Contented Little Baby Book. Her lawyers, regional firm Foot Anstey, have complained about a posting made in April which

"bore the defamatory meaning that our client is cruel, uncaring and justifiably reviled because in her book The Contented Little Baby Book, she advised a mother to leave a five month-old baby to cry for three hours".
Mumsnet, which is run part-time by by seven mothers, is now asking its members to refrain from any further comments about Ford. Says a Mumsnet spokesman:
"we would not be in this situation, were it not for an antediluvian set of laws that have failed to catch up with the reality of communication on the internet".
The IPKat fails to see what's antediluvian about the law. Either Gina Ford has been defamed, in which case she has an action for defamation even in respect of material posted on a website, or she hasn't been defamed - in which case she shouldn't be making any threats. The law does NOT require the shutting down of the website, whether its content is defamatory, blasphemous or infringes copyright: the law acts against the message, not the medium. Merpel adds, strange how all the Gina Ford sucks sites seem to be dealing with feeding babies ...

Advice on bringing up baby from the National Childbirth Trust here
How to deal with tantrums here, here and here
More direct approach to dealing with crying infants here

New design rules (again) in the UK

At the beginning of July the IPKat warned of more impending amendments, adding to the United Kingdon's seemingly endless sequence of changes in its design laws. His industrious friend David Pearce (Eric Potter Clarkson) has kindly tipped him off that the amendments have become reality. There are two new sets of rules, both taking effect from 1 October 2006:

* The Registered Designs Rules 2006 (2006 No.1975) These Rules (full text here) replace the Registered Designs Rules 1995 (as copiously amended), providing both fresh content and some reworked drafting of existing content.

* The Regulatory Reform (Registered Designs) Order 2006. This Order (full text here), made under section 1 of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, amends various provisions of the Registered Designs Act 1949. These include section 1A (substantive grounds for refusing to register a design) and section 3(4) (registrar's power to make searches for determining whether a design is new or has individual character). A new section 3A(4) sets out the substantive grounds other than lack of novelty or individual character, for refusing to register a design. Sections 22(2) and (3) remove restrictions on inspecting certain registered designs.

The good news is that David says:
"The changes will be incorporated into the consolidated copy of the Act and Rules now available at, as soon as I (or anyone else) get round to it".


Anonymous said...

By 'antidiluvian' I think Mumsnet mean they can't rely on a handy immunity.

Whatever the arguments for such an immunity are, my sympathies are still with Mumsnet here. Gina Ford comes across as being a tad over sensitive here.

Having said that, her book was of immense help to us in raising our toddler. I recall one occasion in particular when Oliver was busy puking up his dinner; I quickly grabbed The Contented Little Baby Book and managed to catch most of it in the pages.

Anonymous said...

T Shirts Are starting to appear (Larger image)

Anonymous said...

But why then hasn't she tried to shut down Amazon - posts on there call her a Nazi and a Sadist.

Could it be that Amazon are selling her books?

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