[thechat] Internet Makes Dow Jones Open to Suit in Australia

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Thu Dec 12 12:04:01 CST 2002



The Australian High Court ruled yesterday that a local businessman could
bring a libel action against Dow Jones & Company in a local court, a
decision that reignited publishers' fears that posting material on Web
sites could leave them open to libel prosecution in any country with
Internet access.


What would happen if I published supposedly libelous material on my Web
site and an Aussie wanted to sue me? He couldn't forcibly drag my arse down
there, could he? If an Australian court declares that I am indeed guilty,
how can it enforce its sentence when I'm halfway across the world?

I found this part interesting:

>Stuart Karle, a lawyer for Dow Jones, said yesterday that libel law in
>Victoria — going further than even the strict British libel laws — allows
>plaintiffs to bring suit based on their own particular interpretation of
>the offending passage in an article. Defendants are not permitted to
>suggest a more benign reading of the passage, he said.

Really? That's not encouraging. You mean that if I said, "Isaac is a love
machine" and he interpreted it as "Isaac is an adulterer", he could sue me? :p



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Madhu Menon
Internet User Experience Consultant
e-mail: webguru at vsnl.net   |   Yahoo messenger: cold_logic

Content * Interfaces * Usability * Net Strategy

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