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Author Topic: Firm sues over comments  (Read 2968 times)

Grorgy

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Firm sues over comments
« on: September 12, 2007, 01:50:52 PM »
Here in the land down under we seem to have upset a certain maker of computer software and they decided to sue a community forum  :o

Firm sues forum to silence critics

Asher Moses
September 12, 2007 - 1:06PM
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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.

http://www.theage.co...2/1189276778252.html for the full article



cybernetnews

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 02:24:04 PM »
If people got sued everytime they said something bad about a product... :-\

Carol Haynes

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 03:23:22 PM »
You can't help laughing - the fact that they are suing means that the very comments they don't like are being repeated more widely to illustrate the case.

I don't know how Australian law works but AFAICS the simple defense of 'personal opinion' of users would cover it - everyone in a country with free speech should have a right to be wrong in their opinion. I'm sure the company could enter into a meaningful discussion on the same forum if they really wanted to.

Darwin

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 05:35:50 PM »
Unbelievable. What will be next - injunctions, restraining orders, and prosecution for uttering criticisms at coffee shops? Talk about not getting it! Wars have been fought over this type of censorship. Kind of indicates that the internet and how we perceive it is still in its infancy, still evolving.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Armando

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 08:19:05 PM »
What will be next - injunctions, restraining orders, and prosecution for uttering criticisms at coffee shops?

Well... I wouldn't be surprised if we see some of those soon! Prosecutions for *no other reasons* than making money (or avoiding money loss) do happen more in more in Canada (as you probably know...).

Lashiec

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2007, 09:13:56 PM »
If people got sued everytime they said something bad about a product... :-\

Don't give ideas to Microsoft, their lawyers are getting bored ;)

So, mouser, do you think that "Company Complaints" subforum should remain open? ;D

Darwin

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2007, 12:15:37 AM »
Quote
So, mouser, do you think that "Company Complaints" subforum should remain open?

Ha ha - good point. Pending the outcome of the Australian court ruling, some of us might be in trouble :o

[Ed ... quote bracket fixed, Carol]
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 03:38:48 AM by Carol Haynes »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2007, 03:43:02 AM »
I just think it is ludicrous in a community forum that the web site owner is deemed responsible for all comments.

If this case is successful then it would be likely that all web forums would become either obsolete or moderated before posts appear which would change the character completely and be completely unmanageable on forums such as this where there are large numbers of posts every day.

Presumably they will need to demonstrate in court that the comments were both untrue and materially damaging. The first may be possible if the posters have been stupid but the latter may be difficult - how do you prove that the forum posts have a direct effect on sales? If their product is not good sales will drop anyway.

iphigenie

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2007, 04:30:01 AM »
That is why so many sites have a disclaimer somewhere that puts it in writing "Discussion contents reflect the views of individual participants only. X and its owner organizations bear no responsibility for accuracy of participant comments and will bear no legal liability for discussion results."

Of course if you are a large organisation you need a more detailed one. Here's one I bookmarked a while back as an example of a good one - very thorough yet understandable in plain english http://www.nhri.net/default.asp?PID=112

Carol Haynes

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Re: Firm sues over comments
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2007, 04:46:49 AM »
It depends whether the courts allow you to shift responsibility like that. Just because you make a statement doesn't mean that you dismiss your responsibilities. For example a toy may carry a label saying 'not suitable for under 3 years' but would they have a defence in court if a toy belonging to a 5 year old injured their younger sibling because of poor design or manufacturing?

It is interesting that many lawyers actually argue that software EULAs are probably not enforceable even when users agree to them!

Actually on the basis of their argument could a company sue MS if critical material was prepared in MS Word, or distributed via MS Outlook? What is the difference?