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Censorship

Submission + - Firm sues forum to silence critics (smh.com.au)

izz0 writes: 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. Dale Clapperton, chairman of the online users lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said 2Clix was using the law to silence its critics. He said if Wright lost "it might mean the end of criticising companies' products and services online", as "any company will be able to demand that people's criticisms of them be deleted off websites, and if they don't comply they'll sue". Amanda Stickley, a senior law lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, said if 2Clix won there would be severe consequences for website operators as they would have to be "very vigilant in checking material on the website and remove anything that could cause injury to someone's business reputation". In a statement of claim filed with the Supreme Court of Queensland, 2Clix said the comments, published in two threads between between late last year and July this year, led it to sustain "a severe downturn in monthly sales". It specifically referenced more than 30 comments by Whirlpool users, many strongly advising people to avoid the software at all costs and complaining that advertised features were not actually available in the product. One of the comments cited by 2Clix read: "The software became such a problem that we threw it out recently ... We stuck with it for over two years but in the end the many hundreds of lost hours of work and high stress levels was not worth it." 2Clix claimed the statements were both false and malicious, and said it contacted Whirlpool about the matter this year but Whirlpool refused to take the forum threads down. Wright did not respond to requests for comment, while a 2Clix spokesman this morning declined to comment. But Stickley said it would be very difficult for 2Clix to successfully sue Wright for injurious falsehood over comments made by Whirlpool users. 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. "I don't think you could actually prove that for a web operator, that they personally intended the damage because of their malicious intention, especially when it's posted by a third party that they've got no relationship to," Stickley said.
The Courts

Submission + - Popular OZ broadband site sued for forum comments

Stony Stevenson writes: Whirlpool, a popular community-run broadband discussion forum, is being sued by accounting software firm 2Clix Australia for alleged "injurious falsehood". The Statement of Claim submitted by 2Clix's legal representatives to the Supreme Court of Queensland, alleges "registered users recorded statements on the Defendant's website relating to the Plaintiff and its software product that are both false and malicious".

If the software company is successful in its claim, it could raise a nasty precedent for Australian website operators and their users. Pundits are are already speculating that if Whirlpool loses, it might mean the end of criticising companies' products and services online.
The Courts

Submission + - Whirlpool Founder Sued By Software Manufacturer

An anonymous reader writes: The founder of Whirlpool, an Australian forum for broadband and internet discussion, with nearly 190,000 registered users, is being sued by an accounting software company that had their software bagged out by users commenting on the forum. This type of litigation seems to happen a bit in the US, but it's all new for Australia. The papers were apparently served last night, and it's all over the media Down Under this morning. This looks as though it's going to be a huge bunfight that is going to have its every move covered by the media here. And the ramifications if Whirlpool lose this case are enormous for Australian internet users.
Censorship

Submission + - Broadband forum sued over user comments

weighn writes: "PC World (Australia) and The SMH report that "A software firm is suing a community website over comments published on its forum. 2Clix is suing the owner of the popular broadband community site Whirlpool, Simon Wright, for "injurious falsehood", asking for $AUS150,000 in damages and an injunction requiring Whirlpool to remove forum threads highly critical of 2Clix's accounting software.
Dale Clapperton, chairman of the online users lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said 2Clix was using the law to silence its critics. Whirlpool users have begun donating money to the site to help Wright cover any legal costs."
Censorship

Submission + - Software companies sues popular Australian forum (whirlpool.net.au) 3

Pugzly writes: In a recent announcement on the Whirlpool front page, it appears that accounting software maker 2clix is sueing the founder of the forums as the founder "allowed statements 'relating to the Plaintiff and its software product that are both false and malicious' to be published on the Whirlpool forums."
Hopefully sanity will prevail, but it is the legal system...

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