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Case could smother web chat, says Whirlpool founder

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by clontaago, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

    +121 / 0
    THE founder of one of the nation’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 “false and malicious”, says the legal action affects all online discussion and even film reviews.

    “A lot hangs in the balance here,” Mr Wright told NEWS.com.au.

    “This goes beyond Whirlpool, or indeed communities in general.

    “It affects the viability of all internet discussion, from blogs to product reviews on Amazon.

    “What’s to stop movie distributors from threatening anyone who publishes a negative review of the latest film?”

    Mr Wright said that the support from users has been “incredibly heartwarming” and demonstrates how much they appreciate participating in forums that facilitate “fair and reasonable” 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.

    “Whirlpool's forum operates on the basis that users post their comments without prior approval.

    “We treat all complaints about posts seriously.”

    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 “Statement of Claim” on the website was an exact copy of the court documents.

    “There is a legal process underway (and) on our legal advice, we will be making no comment,” Mr Morgan said.

    According to the document, 2Clix “quantifies its loss in income between January 2007 to July 2007 at approximately $150,000 per month”.

    The document also said 2Clix would be seeking $150,000 in damages for the alleged “injurious falsehood”, 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.

    “Whirlpool believes the action has no merit and will defend the matter vigorously, despite being a community website with little resources,” 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 – and many users have actually donated money to help with legal costs.

    “(I've) donated $1254 via PayPal… $1 for each post I've made on (Whirlpool),” one user said.

    “WP is the best forum of its type in the world and it would be a very sad day if that were put in jeopardy… I urge you to donate as much as you can.”

    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.

    “Amazing when you consider that these were only the amounts posted, not including those who didn’t post the amount, those who had posts deleted, and those yet to read and donate,” the user said.
  2. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

    +784 / 15
    Yeah its garbage.

    I use that forum every now and then and this 'lawsuit' is bull****.

    How can you stop people from not recommending your product if it stinks.

    I think they'll find they have no chance because the ramifications if it went 2clix way would be massive.
  3. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

    +233 / 0
    Your thoughts Dan, as this affects you more than most of us.
  4. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +466 / 6
    I understand we are about to change our defamation laws to make them more lenient - similar to that of the USA?
  5. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    +5,438 / 74
    It is a warning shot across their bow. It has no impact on us.

    The company have grounds, that is for sure but not for the full amount of claims. The idea is throw a hefty suit at them and try to scare them.

    Bascially you bad mouth a product in a certain way then you can be liable, plain and simple.

    I havent read the offending posts, because I don't really care.

    This will end up being settled out of court.
  6. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +212 / 5
    You have to have assets to be pursued and sued. Dan and the rest of us are safe.
  7. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +466 / 6
    I'd like to say that Dominos pizzas are complete **** . Cheap cheese sauce slathered on par-baked crusts and the shortcoming hidden by latherings of chemical laden BBQ sauce.
  8. The Gronk

    The Gronk Well-Known Member

    +37 / 0
    Thanks Matas

    Next time I want a pizza I'll ring Dubbo.
    Do you deliver to Melbourne?
  9. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +466 / 6
    Anyone ordering Dominos in Melbourne needs to be shot. There are some brilliant independants making real pizza down there.
  10. The Gronk

    The Gronk Well-Known Member

    +37 / 0
    Yeah there are some great Italian joints we use down here.
  11. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +466 / 6

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