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Injurous Falsehood

By aich jay - 12 September 2007 14

Sydney Morning Herald is reporting this afternoon on Whirlpool being sued by 2Clix for an “injurous falsehood” relating to criticism in a forum hosted by Whirlpool of 2Clix’s software.

This could well set a very nasty precedent requiring hosts of forums, possible RA included, to be “very vigilant in checking material on the website and remove anything that could cause injury to someone’s business reputation”.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Injurous Falsehood
Maelinar 3:57 pm 17 Sep 07

I stand by every comment I have made on RA, even while drunk. Direct all enquiries regarding litigation of me to Thumper, he is my financial advisor.

Mr Evil 2:39 pm 17 Sep 07

Yay, my stupidity saves the day again – whew!

astrojax 12:05 pm 17 Sep 07

yes, but mr evil, you don’t believe that, do you? ; )

though ‘malice’ and ‘mere stupidity’ are differentiatable, caf. not sure the connection would/should be very strong.

caf 4:13 pm 14 Sep 07

No, in fact it would probably make things worse as it would lend credence to the argument your statements were malicious.

Mr Evil 1:27 pm 14 Sep 07

Does it legally cover you if you don’t personally believe in anything you say on a forum?

astrojax 12:37 pm 14 Sep 07

my mum had a whirlpool.

wonder if the whitegoods manufacturer might sue the upstart using its name? or at least fund 2clix’s fighting fund??

s’getting scary, all this suing going on. lance armstrong is apparently suing dog/cat collar manufacturers for infringing his ‘live strong’ yellow wristband thing ’cause thay have yellow collars with ‘barkstrong’ and ‘purrstrong’. get real!

all my opinions expressed in this forum are maelinar’s anyway, so sue him! ; )

Felix the Cat 8:02 pm 13 Sep 07

The writ is quite interesting because it details every comment that contains criticism of the product and the poster’s pseudonym. Presumably they have gone after the forums owner because they couldn’t identify the individual posters. What this does though is open up the possibility that the forum owner will reveal the identity of the posters to deflect the lawsuit or subsequently sue the individual posters if they lose.

If the forum owner revealed the details of the original poster then wouldn’t the OP be able to then sue said forum owner under privacy laws?

I can relate to this topic as I recently had an issue with another forum I frequent where I posted some details of some unsatisfactory work that a forum sponser had done for me. I had been trying to ‘negotiate’ unsuccessfully directly with the business to arrange a part refund of money I had paid to have this work done but the business was trying to put the blame onto the supplier of the goods that they fitted for me, rather than give me a refund and take up issue with supplier themselves. Anyway, I was getting nowhere fast so I saw my only option was to “name and shame” and hopefully make other forum members aware of my problems with this supplier. The moderators didn’t like any criticism of forum sponsers in case the sponser got upset and decided to sue the forum for defamation and/or withdraw their sponsership and so my post was deleted and I was banned from the forum.

hingo 10:51 am 13 Sep 07

Chopper tells 2Clix to “harden the fuck up!”

Skidbladnir 10:39 am 13 Sep 07

Ant, Australia does not have an explicit free speech clause within our Constitution.
We do have an implicit freedom of political communication, and the definition of “political” (in terms of formalised hierarchic & legislation politics versus the chaos\politics of groups & the general public) is quite vague under law iirc.
But I am no lawyer.

If we’re going down that road, does anyone know the legal status of making the forum registered-user = viewer?

fnaah 9:44 am 13 Sep 07

IANAL, but how can whirlpool be held accountable for the views expressed on their forums?

Wouldn’t that be like someone suing Telstra for something that a caller said on a radio talk show?

ant 10:22 pm 12 Sep 07

People, we do not have a right to free speech. We are not America. Read the constitution, there’s nothing there. But what we do have is some very harsh defamation laws, skewed towards anyone with the means to institute defamation proceedings. Pretty well any expressed negative opinion is defamatory. If someone decides to take issue over it, all that is in question is how much money they will make.
We do not have freedom of speech.

cranky 9:27 pm 12 Sep 07

The following from the SMH site

‘It would have to prove the statements were false, that they were made in malice, that 2Clix actually suffered damage in the form of monetary loss and, critically, that Wright had intended to cause 2Clix monetary loss by allowing the material to remain on the website.’

Any blog site, RA included, contain often damning criticism of individual businesses. I would suggest that where there is smoke, there is fire. It may occur, but organised, as distinct from unsolicited, derogatory comment would appear to be rare.

May the hurdles in the path of free speech be easily conquered.

Deano 8:55 pm 12 Sep 07

The writ is quite interesting because it details every comment that contains criticism of the product and the poster’s pseudonym. Presumably they have gone after the forums owner because they couldn’t identify the individual posters. What this does though is open up the possibility that the forum owner will reveal the identity of the posters to deflect the lawsuit or subsequently sue the individual posters if they lose.

RandomGit 8:18 pm 12 Sep 07

Commercial bullying to shut down criticism they can’t control.

This is how they win peoples.

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