THE founder of one of the nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s most popular online discussion forums says a lawsuit brought by a software company threatens freedom of speech on the net. Whirlpool forums founder Simon Wright, who is being sued by accounting software maker 2Clix Australia for publishing comments the company alleges are ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“false and maliciousÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â, says the legal action affects all online discussion and even film reviews. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“A lot hangs in the balance here,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â Mr Wright told NEWS.com.au. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“This goes beyond Whirlpool, or indeed communities in general. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“It affects the viability of all internet discussion, from blogs to product reviews on Amazon. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“WhatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s to stop movie distributors from threatening anyone who publishes a negative review of the latest film?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â Mr Wright said that the support from users has been ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“incredibly heartwarmingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â and demonstrates how much they appreciate participating in forums that facilitate ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“fair and reasonableÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â criticism. He said that Whirlpool uses a range of measures to identify potentially problematic comments and there is a set of rules in place to regulate posts. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Whirlpool's forum operates on the basis that users post their comments without prior approval. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“We treat all complaints about posts seriously.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â Members of the Whirlpool forum have also been donating money to help pay the legal costs for Mr Wright, who set up the website to help internet users discuss problems with broadband services. Legal case 2Clix Australia is suing Mr Wright for damages after two forum discussions about its products on the Whirlpool site. According to a statement on the site, purportedly from 2Clix, the action was based on comments criticising its software and postings encouraging other Whirlpool members to avoid purchasing their products. 2Clix spokesman David Morgan said that he would not confirm that the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Statement of ClaimÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â on the website was an exact copy of the court documents. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“There is a legal process underway (and) on our legal advice, we will be making no comment,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â Mr Morgan said. According to the document, 2Clix ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“quantifies its loss in income between January 2007 to July 2007 at approximately $150,000 per monthÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â. The document also said 2Clix would be seeking $150,000 in damages for the alleged ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“injurious falsehoodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â, the permanent removal of two forum threads discussing its software and legal costs to be paid by Mr Wright. Whirlpool said it would be fighting the allegations in court. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Whirlpool believes the action has no merit and will defend the matter vigorously, despite being a community website with little resources,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â the company said. The forum threads in question still appear online. Users show their support Since news of the court action was posted on the website last night, more than 1200 comments have been posted in support of Mr Wright ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ and many users have actually donated money to help with legal costs. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“(I've) donated $1254 via PayPalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ $1 for each post I've made on (Whirlpool),ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â one user said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“WP is the best forum of its type in the world and it would be a very sad day if that were put in jeopardyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ I urge you to donate as much as you can.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â Another user who looked at every cash pledge made on the site calculated that at 10.30am (AEST) today, supporters had donated at least $3097.94 for legal costs. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Amazing when you consider that these were only the amounts posted, not including those who didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t post the amount, those who had posts deleted, and those yet to read and donate,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â the user said.