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Just out of curiosity: is it illegal to mention the name of an illegal website via a private messaging service on a website?

Assuming just the name of the website is mentioned and no links or any content is shared.

For example, lets say the only thing shared is the sentence

"Website xyz is illegal and contains illegal content".

Would writing this sentence with the actual name of the website in place of "xyz" be illegal?

  • I assume it would be ok as you are not passing or sharing on anything. – user4675 Mar 7 '16 at 19:01
  • If the site is illegal then it is blocked by court order so even sharing a link shouldn't really matter. If its not blocked then the legality is still not determined yet (probably). – apokryfos Jul 7 '16 at 15:34
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    I think this is unlikely to be answerable without a more specific scenario. Websites can't be convicted of crimes, only humans can be, and so a website itself is never illegal but certain actions humans take relating to a website can be illegal. Different actions are illegal in relation to different websites. – bdsl Jul 7 '16 at 23:15
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In the US, barring a gag order, the speech you describe is not illegal.

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    Thanks for your comment. What about the UK? If it was illegal, would both parties be in trouble or just he person that mentioned it? – user4675 Mar 7 '16 at 19:06
  • I don't know about the UK, but I do know that they have fewer protections of free speech than in the US. I would not be surprised if there were more ways that this would be illegal in the UK. – user3851 Mar 7 '16 at 19:08
  • This requires some imagination, but could it not constitute conspiracy to infringe intellectual property, or perhaps a violation of some statute like the U.S. DMCA? – feetwet May 8 '16 at 15:08
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With Regards to UK Law:

It should be perfectly fine to make such a statement. It isn't a crime.

At civil law, the website might sue you for making a defamatory statement, but as long as the statement is true, then you are still permitted to make the statement, and even if the statement turns out to be false (that the website turned out to be legal), then the defence of reportage (now known as the defence of Publication on a Matter of Public Interest, Defamation Act 2013 s.4) would protect you, since you are arguably spreading information which is in the public interest.

  • I read the question as being about passing information that could be used to break the law. If the recipient is known to be interested in certain categories of illegal content then this would be an invitation rather than a warning. – Paul Johnson Apr 17 '17 at 17:39

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