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  • Business sues forum

    I cut & pasted this direct from the MASA site, so hope it is OK.

    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".
    Even though I encourage members to express themselves of good and bad experiences they have had with businesses, this is a very good reason to watch what you post.

    Quite a few people will be aware of what happened in the States quite a few years ago between a forum and a company called Petswarehouse.

    We need to becareful of what is said. I would hate to see some company sue this fabulous forum because of a few negative posts regarding a business.

    So far we have been pretty good, some posts have been delete because they have overstepped the line, but otherwise no complaints.

    I know everybody here enjoys it as much as I do, so please think before you type..


  • #2

    This is a very important issue
    How about making this a sticky so it stays at the top of this section Shake?

    Read this very helpful thread on BSS .
    No pictures on your BSS advert? Then be prepared for it to be deleted ( read the rules )


    • #3
      I agree that this is a good reminder to everyone.

      I'm glad this forum still allow members to share their bad experiences they had with businesses, so everyone should use this privilage properly and not overstep it.
      Re-exploring my long missed time with the lively tanks....


      • #4
        Yeah, I'd vote on the sticky status too, nice thread Shake. It's highly understandable to keep forums healthy and active and it would be a shame to have this awesome place shut down because of some uncareful comments. Many people are unaware of the repercussions their comments can make. Unfortunately its a shame that we can't complain about a shoddy product or business online these days. Some experiences are just so bad they leave a bad taste in your mouth and you want to jump up and down and warn people, but free speech in this area has always been shady. I guess its best to save up all our backlashes over dodgy products/services for days when we group together in 'real life'.

        If you kiss a fish, you'll both get practice


        • #5
          It's a sticky

          I have made this into a sticky as requested by a few members already.

          I agree with you Cloudy, it's a pity we have to watch what we say. I'm for one to let others know of our bad experiences.

          I do prefer though to have this forum up and running than posting some bad experience I have had then get sued over it for letting others know.


          • #6
            Is Aquarium Life Incorporated so as to give some protection against Moderators and Admins being personally sued?


            • #7
              sadly these days people will sue of the most ridiculous things, but any views that may be 'offensive' shuold be shared in person and not on publicly on the net. good sticky shake.
              He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!


              • #8
                Originally posted by shake View Post
                Quite a few people will be aware of what happened in the States quite a few years ago between a forum and a company called Petswarehouse.

                Thats still continuing - "A group of aquarium hobbyists who frequent the Internet Aquatic Plant Digest have been sued in Federal Court for $15,000,000 by Robert Novak d/b/a"


                Thats why if its at all possible to Incorporate Aquarium Life it limits the personal liability of Admins and Mods.


                • #9
                  Being a moderator on a football forum, we've been mindful of this and some recent injuctions have been applied to us. It's a minefield.

                  Personally from what I've read I don't there's much of a case.


                  • #10
                    This really surprises me. On what law is this suit based? I didn't know that it was illegal to criticise a business. Word of mouth is how many of us find out about good businesses or products and learn to avoid the bad ones. I'd suggest that companies who don't like being criticised online should make an effort to improve their product or service, rather spending time and money on law suits that will most likely just turn more customers away when they are publicised.


                    • #11
                      Yeah Scott, the worlds just gone crazy. You can be sued by a burgular who breaks into you house and cuts tendons in his arm from smashing the glass!!??!! Its bureaucracy gone mad I tells ya!
                      I understand a business not wanting bad publicity, but as beens said its THEIR responsibility to provide a good service and good products, this is what makes a good business a great business and bad publicity turns into positive publicity. Take Aquagreen for example, unbelievable service, top quality products, fantastic value and great communication. Dave sets an outstanding example of how a business is supposed to be run.

                      If you kiss a fish, you'll both get practice


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cloudy View Post
                        Yeah Scott, the worlds just gone crazy. You can be sued by a burgular who breaks into you house and cuts tendons in his arm from smashing the glass!!??!! Its bureaucracy gone mad I tells ya!
                        This is one side of the law I've never understood. Just who are we trying to protect here, the victim or the criminal! People need to take a little more responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming others I think!

                        Back on topic, I dont know much about this thing but I hope that the guys on Whirlpool will be alright. It's a real shame. People will always find out about good/bad products/services through word of mouth in the long run.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Proteus
                          Due to the nature of Australian and International law in relation to litigation, Incorporation will not offer any level of protection at all.

                          Being that I have owned and operated online forums for longer than most people here have been using discussion forums online, I have had solicitors look over the concept of incorporation as a level of protection, and all have come back saying it is a waste of time.

                          At the end of the day if something goes legal, someone is held responsible... no ifs, buts or maybes. If it isnt the owner, it will be the author of an article, or anyone associated with allowing the article or item to stay online. Collective ownership, i.e. incorporation will result in all members being liable.
                          I disagree with what you said and would suggest that if the owner/admin of AL wishes to pursue this avenue that they seek genuine legal advice.


                          • #14
                            I would really listen to what Proteus has to say...


                            • #15
                     suing...for "injurious falsehood",
                              I guess the company suing has to prove that it was a falsehood.

                              Injurious goes without question when you give a business a bad wrap for the products/services they provide - but whether it was false or not has to be proven by the plaintiff.


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