Australia treads old media ground
Thursday, December 12th, 2002
We’re reading lots of panicked appraisals of the finding by Australia high court that Dow Jones is accountable for something it published on the Internet.
“The decision has potentially major ramifications for Web publishing world-wide,” intoned the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Dow Jones. Even bloggers should worry, we were told.
Almost every lawyer quoted is on the payroll of one media conglomerate or another. Are we missing anything?
Publishers have always had to contend with prickly local courts, so it seems no surprise that this should happen online. Remember when the International Herald Tribune was fined $678,000 in Singapore for publishing something incredibly vague that was construed as being derogatory to the country’s Prime Minister?
Do bloggers indeed have to worry? Probably a lot less than multinational media conglomerates. As the
WSJ article notes: “If the court finds in favor of Mr. Gutnick and ‘it turns out Dow Jones doesn’t have any assets in Australia, there will be further questions about getting a U.S. enforcement of an Australian judgment,’ said Jonathan Zittrain, an assistant law professor at Harvard Law School. Some U.S. courts have declined to enforce overseas decisions that wouldn’t stand up under the U.S. Constitution, he said.”