Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Site Owners, Bloggers: Beware!

Just spotted this interesting item on the SMH this afternoon.

In a move that could set a nasty precedent for Australian website operators and their users, a software firm is suing a community website over comments published on its message board.

The firm, 2Clix, is suing the owner of the popular broadband community site Whirlpool, Simon Wright, for "injurious falsehood", asking for $150,000 in damages and an injunction requiring Whirlpool to remove forum threads highly critical of 2Clix's accounting software.

Time for me to 'fess up. I've, in fact, had to delete or modify a number of posts (but especially reader comments) exactly to avoid exposure to these sorts of legal problems. So I can't see anything new from my point of view.


tanch said...

I think CG was more to the point of erring being on the cautious side.

eg. Mig's Daily Dirt chess blog was also brought to task over comments made about Monroi and he had to commence censoring/deleting comments.

I point it to a growing problem and one which all bloggers are likely and will continue to face for time to come.

Anonymous said...

Mig didnt delete many comments...Monroi were hypersensitive to having a malfunctionibg webpage.

By completely overreacting to what would be considered normal complaints they made themselves look stupid.

Ted Teodoro said...

Bloggers should familiarize themselves with defamation laws in their area. It's a legal quagmire to put it mildly. People like to threaten a lawsuit, but they better think twice because the case will only generate more bad publicity for them. A calculator will come in handy to compute the great expense. They need to prove malicious intent, and no one wants to go to court over simple albeit unflattering comments. In simple terms, anyone wishing to avoid a defamation charge(libel/slander)should not knowingly pass as true something that he knows to be untrue. This, however, should not stop anyone from expressing their opinion. You can still call someone a lousy chessplayer judging from his games, but you can't claim that he paid someone off to win first place when you know that he did not. That's defamation. Look it up on the web. It's complicated legal mumbojumbo.

Kevin Bonham said...

In Australia it is generally not necessary to prove malicious intent.