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Australian Website Bans ... Australians 247

Posted by timothy
from the only-ones-who-could-in-a-place-like-this dept.
Nazlfrag writes "Earlier this month the blog and discussion forum ZGeek was sued for $42 million AUD over a user's comment. The plaintiffs are aspiring movie producers who claim to have lost a movie deal due to a 9/11 conspiracy discussion thread. Even though the initial lawsuit has been thrown out, and the company complied with lawyers' demands by taking down the offending posts, it is believed the plaintiffs will file suit again. In addition to suing the forum, in an Australian first they have been granted an injunction to force the ISPs to disclose the IP addresses of the two posters involved. Due to the risk of incurring even greater legal costs the company is closing its doors in Australia, and will ban their fellow countrymen from posting there again."
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Australian Website Bans ... Australians

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  • by Gravedigger3 (888675) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @10:44PM (#28725611)

    Why does everyone keep treating them like a bunch of criminals?

    • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @10:57PM (#28725657)

      Why does everyone keep treating them like a bunch of criminals?

      The sad part is that it seems that only Aussies treat Aussies like a bunch of criminals. Yes, I get the joke, but considering the great firewall and more, it just seems less funny.

      • The list of websites forbidden in Australia:

        http://www.wikileaks.org/leak/acma-secret-blacklist-18-mar-2009.txt [wikileaks.org]

        I searched for "slashdot" but couldn't find it. So we'd better not badmouth Australians too much; there could be some here.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:15AM (#28726325)

        The sad part is that it seems that only Aussies treat Aussies like a bunch of criminals.

        That's because they forgot to kick out the guards.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        In this case it represents the difference in slander laws. You can be sued for slander if you make a statement of fact about someone that you cannot prove to be factual in a court of law, rather than only having to demonstrate that you believed that fact to be true. The simple solution is to couch statements as opinions rather than as facts or where you manage a forum ensure that all users are informed that 'all' postings regardless of content are the 'opinions' of the poster and should not be construed as

    • by Derkec (463377) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:00PM (#28725669)

      They're used to it, because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:02PM (#28725683)

      Why does everyone keep treating them like a bunch of criminals?

      Oh come on... we can't be dicks to a penile colony?

    • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:03PM (#28725687)

      Why does everyone keep treating them like a bunch of criminals?

      Because the purpose of every country's legislative branch is to add laws, not remove them. The judiciary's job is to review laws, not remove them. And the executive branch's job is to suggest, review, and approve laws, not remove them. Therefore, the older the country, the more laws. And it doesn't take long before all the major ones required have been added, so there is an inevitable climb toward the bottom, to regulate even the smallest matters, until everyone is a criminal, though they may not know or consider themselves as such, in some fashion.

      Consider this: The Ten Commandments contain 297 words, the Bill of Rights 463 words, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address 266 words. A recent federal directive regulating the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.

      • by eleuthero (812560)
        Why are we regulating cabbage? Are they requiring the price to be low to combat anti-competition tactics in cabbage syndicates? This is amazing. It would be decidedly less amazing if our national dish included cabbage like a number of eastern European countries, but ... I don't know anyone who actually eats it on a regular basis apart from a monthly (maybe) trip to KFC for some. This will likely get marked flamebait, but I am actually curious as to the need for regulation here. Is it related to potatoes /
        • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:5, Informative)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:20PM (#28725789)

          Why are we regulating cabbage? Are they requiring the price to be low to combat anti-competition tactics in cabbage syndicates?

          The government has regulated the cost of food for a long time for many reasons...

          1. The free market cannot be trusted to maintain price stability. If there was a sudden drop or rise in the price of food, then people might not be able to afford it, or in the reverse, that farmers would go bankrupt and supply would diminish. When it comes to basic needs things like food, electricity, water, stability often sought after.

          2. There is no cabbage cabal, only Zuul.

          3. Incorporating a price floor prevents large corporations from winning based on economy of scale -- they cannot undersell smaller operations, thus existing infrastructure (land, mainly) will never be repurposed at a lower cost. But it "protects rural america" doing this.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by sumdumass (711423)

            1. The free market cannot be trusted to maintain price stability. If there was a sudden drop or rise in the price of food, then people might not be able to afford it, or in the reverse, that farmers would go bankrupt and supply would diminish. When it comes to basic needs things like food, electricity, water, stability often sought after.

            You would be surprised at how unobvious that is to so many people. I recently spent the better part of 5 or 6 posts talking to a guy over subsidies and their intent whil

            • The free market cannot be trusted to maintain employment stability. If there was a sudden drop or rise in the employment, then people might not be able to afford food or shelter, or in the reverse, the employers would go bankrupt and supply would diminish.

              What's the difference between not having cheap enough food and not having enough money to buy food?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

                Lobbyists, duh.

                Does the GP ACTUALLY think that the massive and powerfull aggricultural lobbies exist to keep corporations from "winning"? Large "family" farms (usually a corporate operation privately owned at that size), very large family farms, and non-family farms (8 percent of all farms) account for 68% of production in the US. Who do you think is benefiting most from a price floor? Cut prices by 3/4 and eliminate the competition or make twice as much with a price floor. Hmmm... USDA stats on the matte [usda.gov]

                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  The food price stability argument is bullshit. If the government were really concerned about food shortages in times of crisis they would set up emergency food supply stores across the country. You would only need to store things like grains, which last for a very long time and provide enough nutrition to live on until the crisis has passed. This would cost the US citizen significantly less per year than the farm subsidies do.

                  Lol... You must be a special kind of ignorant. This is already done and has bee

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    Farms would certainly go under, but this would be a corrective measure. Populist farm measures were implemented to keep farmers in business, not to prevent starvation--there are too many chefs in the pot already, and instead of letting the market correct itself (who wants poor ol' farmers to have to feel the pinch?) it's more politically expedient to prop up the excess farms and get votes.

                    • by geekoid (135745)

                      Have you even looked at countries that do that? I'll stick with consistent, safe and reliable foods, thank you very much.

                • by geekoid (135745)

                  "Who do you think is benefiting most from a price floor? C"

                  The citizens.

                  Food is cheap in the US, and historically speaking corporate farms are more efficient, safer, and reliable then small farms.

                  Why do you think the corporate modal is used? Because it's efficient, generally speak, that is.
                  Not as efficient as most government bureaus, but still a lot more efficient then the family farm.

                  Yes, most government bureaus and projects are far less wasteful then the corporate counter parts. Take a look at the books

              • by sumdumass (711423)

                The difference is that there is plenty of sources of food outside your employment. Government aid is one of them, private charities are another while friends and family should not be forgotten.

                If you lose your job, there will be something you can eat in order to stay alive. Homeless people with absolutely no jobs at all are able to live. It happens all the time.

              • by Carewolf (581105)

                What's the difference between not having cheap enough food and not having enough money to buy food?

                Why isn't that obvious to you?

                If you don't have enough jobs you can still pay the unemployed unemployment benefits, but if your country doesn't have enough food, even with full employment someone is going to starve.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by u38cg (607297)
              Do, please, name one well governed country with stable property rights, a functioning financial systems, and access to world markets, that has ever suffered a famine.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              If prices rises, farmers will likely try to increase their yields leading to eventually lower prices, or more farms will open. If the price falls, then that would almost certainly be due to supply. You say that farmers would go bankrupt and supply would diminish if prices fell too much, but you fail to ask why prices would fall--it would almost certainly be due to an overproduction of any particular foodstuff to begin with, so farms going out of businesses would be a corrective measure. The reason small

              • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:4, Informative)

                by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:53AM (#28729931) Homepage Journal

                Your scenerio would need infinite arable land.

                Price fall for a variety of reasons. Farms aree NOT a corrective measure the way youi think of them. You can't stop and start a farm business, yit needs constent work. When you happen to ahve a poor yield, you need to work it so it's ready for the next year. If we let just the amrket drive it, we wil have a low yield years, farmers will go out of business, and then the next year we wont have enough.

                  A bad year, or decade even, can be caused by forces other then market forces. too little water, too much water,a freeze, insects, and disease can kill a yield even when demand is high.

                You do realize we are talking about food here, right? People die without it?

                maybe you should take a look of what farming and food markets are actually like before yapping off?

            • by TheLink (130905)
              There are also strategic "national security" reasons. For instance if there's a big war, you would want to still be able to produce your own food.

              If you have lots of land and do away with your farms, you can't just restart them up instantly.

              FWIW, the USA does protect military manufacturing jobs ;).

              If you're a small city state with no land for farms, just don't start any wars, and hope nobody bothers to take over your itsy bitsy country ;).
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by mcgrew (92797)

              I'm normally for heavy regulation of corporations so long as it is GOOD regulation; corporations NEVER have the public welfare or public good in mind. People say the electricity problems in California were from overragulation, but rather than overragulation they stemmed from BAD regulation.

              In the US, there is a lot of BAD regulation regarding farming. Small family farms are dying, big megacorporation food factories are taking over. And the food sucks. I'm glad I have a back yard I can grow a garden in, too

          • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:4, Informative)

            by tpgp (48001) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:31AM (#28726121) Homepage

            The government has regulated the cost of food for a long time for many reasons...

            Hey dude, as someone else has pointed out in this thread, your tale of cabbage regulation is an urban myth [snopes.com]

            Do you have anything to back up anything you're saying - or are you just trolling?

          • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:4, Insightful)

            by twostix (1277166) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:18AM (#28726339)

            That's an extremely starry eyed and naive idea of much primary production regulation.

            The alternative and reality in most cases is that huge corporate interests, often the supermarkets and generally large agricultral management corps want to apply pressure on smaller and independant farmers. Large supermarkets don't like having to deal with small farmers and in many cases are in direct competition with smaller farms through their own holdings in large agricultural management firms. And obviously large agri-holdings have many reasons to want to shove the small old school independents out of business.

            But you keep believing the government is acting primarily in the interests of the handful of small 100 - 2000 acre unorganized independent farmers remaining in the west rather than the large billion dollar agri-corps and supermarkets that give politicians hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds each year.

      • A recent federal directive regulating the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.

        Which would be notable, if that was the only thing it was regulating.

      • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kozz (7764) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:18PM (#28725779)

        Consider this: The Ten Commandments contain 297 words, the Bill of Rights 463 words, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address 266 words. A recent federal directive regulating the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.

        I'm shocked nobody has called bullshit on this one yet. Damn, dude. Check snopes.
        http://www.snopes.com/language/document/cabbage.asp [snopes.com]

        Unless of course you also read this on snopes and decided it was a good time to perpetrate an urban legend. *shrugs*

        • by Landshark17 (807664) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:18AM (#28726061)
          Don't be so quick to trust snopes... http://xkcd.com/250/ [xkcd.com]
        • Consider this: The Ten Commandments contain 297 words, the Bill of Rights 463 words, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address 266 words. A recent federal directive regulating the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.

          I'm shocked nobody has called bullshit on this one yet. Damn, dude. Check snopes.
          http://www.snopes.com/language/document/cabbage.asp [snopes.com]

          Unless of course you also read this on snopes and decided it was a good time to perpetrate an urban legend. *shrugs*

          What's truly silly about this urban legend is that there are plenty of *real* examples of excessively long government documents. Google for "military brownie specification" for an example ("wc" tells me it's only 9660 words, but I'm sure there are some others that can equal or exceed the 26,911 number).

      • by Bobb9000 (796960)
        There's some validity to your point, though I think you're overstating things. Larger populations with more communication and more encompassing economies require more regulation. However, instead of engaging you further on this interesting political question, I would merely like to point out that the thing about cabbage regulation is a long-time rhetorical legend with no basis in fact. Please take more care about repeating stories without checking them.

        See Snopes for more info. [snopes.com]
      • by Werkhaus (549466) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:37PM (#28725869)

        A recent federal directive regulating the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.

        Ah, yes. Also known as "Cole's Law".

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kzieli (1355557)

        Most of the ten commandments are not enforceable by law though. Murder the theft are crimes. Bearing false witness is only a crime in some circumstances. More to the point it is against the law to enforce some of them, seeing as most western countries have some provisions for freedom of religion).

        Laws do get removed and replaced over time. What tends to happen is that breaches of some particular law first start getting minimal sentences. Then cases invoking it start getting dismissed the public prosecuto

      • Re:Poor Aussies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:13AM (#28727445)
        They didn't have Lawyers when the 10 Commandments were written.
      • According to snopes.com, nobody has found that directive, and that claim has circulated for several different documents, none of which are identifiable, always just below 27,000 words.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @10:56PM (#28725649)

    Throw anotha lawya' on the barbie, mate?

  • or /. flamers and trolls are in serious danger.
  • by JumperCable (673155) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:00PM (#28725673)
    So a 9/11 Australian conspiracy theorist, Greg Smith, gets his butt whooped in an on-line thread that he participated in (big surprise). And now he wants to sue over his damaged character? I suspect his damaged reputation has much more to do with what he said and how he handled it.

    So where is the cache of the thread?
  • what with Sasha Baron Cohen making a contentious movie about a flamboyant gay Australian

    and their favorite Australian son, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is having major troubles in Caleefornya

    but Australians will always have the Sound of Music, Mozart, the Tyrolean Alps, and Hitler

    • by Aussie (10167)

      That's just the kangaroos.

    • You, Sir, circletimessquare, are my hero. Without even trying you have managed to make about fifteen people look like fools with their answers. :)

      This could indeed be a record-breaking post.

    • by oliderid (710055)
      Lol, it reminds me that picture posted a while ago "The world according to America " :-) http://i8.tinypic.com/6h89yes.gif [tinypic.com]
    • by deniable (76198)
      Niiiice one, maaate. You've mastered a classic Austrian sport, baiting foreigners. All we need to do now is show our new tourism ad, "Wolf Creek."
    • Governor Schwarzenegger is Austrian, not Australian as you can tell simply by listening to his speech. He doesn't say G'Day Mate, nor does he properly pronounce "put nother shrimp on the barbie"

  • Sad to see you go. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slack_justyb (862874) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @11:16PM (#28725765)
    Dear Australia,

    Hate to see you guys drop off the face of the Internet, but I guess that's what happens when you get a bunch of pricks in Parliament.
    But I guess that the government will figure it out when no one wants to deal with Australia as far as the Internet goes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      You need to read something else besides slashdot reporting greatly exagerated news of our demise. This bunch of pricks are the same as the last bunch of pricks when it comes to mandatory filters; all talk to impress a couple of independent senators. There has never been, nor will there ever be, an Australian "great firewall". The closest thing we have is "the great rabbit fence" but even that leaked rabbits all over the place.
      • by NoMaster (142776)

        There's also the dingo fence, which originally was to keep the dingos on one side away from the sheep on the other side, but nowdays largely serves to keep the dingos on one side away from the dingos on the other.

        It does make a really cool noise when you drive through it, though...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VoltageX (845249)
      I'm in Australia and I just registered and posted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by deniable (76198)
      Sorry, I'm only in my thirties. I don't remember the time before pricks in Parliament. Neither do my parents.
  • Using the logic used in this lawsuit, Microsoft could sue Slashdot, and every other pro-Linux website for defamation, claiming millions of dollars in lost sales due to attacks on Windows.

    • You mean all those 0.92% of sales that went to Linux? I can see Microsoft lining up its lawyers now...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by countach (534280)

        .92% of windows sales would send slashdot broke and keep hundreds of lawyers in beer and skittles.

  • Banned? Not so much. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fex303 (557896) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:08AM (#28726015)

    Due to the risk of incurring even greater legal costs the company is closing its doors in Australia, and will ban their fellow countrymen from posting there again.

    Wait what?

    As a longtime user (~10 years) of Zgeek, and an Aussie, I'm pretty sure we haven't been banned. It's just that the site, which is hosted in the US already is going to legally set up shop outside of Australia to avoid these kinds of legal hassles.

    For the record, the whole lawsuit thing is a joke, and everyone's aware that it's doomed to failure. The problem is that since Zgeek is essentially run by one guy in his spare time, he doesn't have the resources to fight it effectively, so it's better to run away rather than set yourself up for future problems.

    For the record, the site really isn't too much more than a place were people post random news, and a forum which is dominated by in-fighting, trolling, and a bizarre 'shit-in-his-shoes' meme (it was started after Google started rating us highly as place to get life advice). And yes, it's as much fun as it sounds.

    • For the record, the whole lawsuit thing is a joke, and everyone's aware that it's doomed to failure. The problem is that since Zgeek is essentially run by one guy in his spare time, he doesn't have the resources to fight it effectively, so it's better to run away rather than set yourself up for future problems.

      I admire your optimism. But just because everyone is aware that it's insane does not mean the lawsuit will fail.

      • by Zerth (26112)

        Yah, they'll just get sued in whatever country they set up in and have the additional difficulty of getting subpoenaed long-distance.

        I'm unaware of any country that both has decent bandwidth and does NOT have stupid laws that affect the internet.

        I can think of a few regions that fullfil the second clause and could be brought to fulfill the first, but most of them are populated by people who find bronze tools sufficiently indistinguishable from magic and would likely smash the electronics and use them as spe

    • For the record, the site really isn't too much more than a place were people post random news, and a forum which is dominated by in-fighting, trolling, and a bizarre 'shit-in-his-shoes' meme

      So you're saying it's essentially identical to Slashdot, but with an unfortunate twist on "hot-grits-in-pants."
    • by syousef (465911)

      For the record, the site really isn't too much more than a place were people post random news, and a forum which is dominated by in-fighting, trolling, and a bizarre 'shit-in-his-shoes' meme (it was started after Google started rating us highly as place to get life advice). And yes, it's as much fun as it sounds.

      So doesn't that mean it violates /. IP?

  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:38AM (#28726155)
    Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, The Thread That Cost Someone $42.5 Million Dollars:

    Page 1 [74.125.47.132].
    Page 2 (John posts as "Doghead" on this page) [74.6.239.67].
    Page 4 [74.6.239.67].
    Greg Smith's threat/post [74.125.47.132].

    Mirror - Page 1 [dyndns.org]
    Mirror - Page 2 [dyndns.org]
    Mirror - Page 4 [dyndns.org]
    Mirror - Greg's Threat [dyndns.org]

    If there are any other pages I missed that got picked up in the cache, post them here.
  • The system seems to be broken if lawyers can bring about this kind of boobery.

  • I've said it before and I'll say it again we need a Bill of Rights in the country. Currently we have almost none. Freedom of religion and free opinion of the government. Nothing else... Free speech would be nice.
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      the problem is you'd never get agreement on what to put in it now. and who would you trust to draft it? the government? it'd be over run with clauses to suit which ever policical party was in power.

      our chance at such a document that actually benefits everyone, has long sailed.

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