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The Message, Not the Medium: Defamation, Publication and the Internet in Dow Jones & Co Inc v Gutnick


David Rolph


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law


Sydney Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 263-280, 2002
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/48

Abstract:     
The challenges posed by internet defamation have been the subject of few decisions by ultimate appellate courts. One of the few, and the first, was the High Court of Australia's decision in Dow Jones & Co. Inc. v Gutnick (2002) 210 CLR 575. This article canvasses the issues central to the appeal: the meaning of the term, 'publication', in defamation law; the place of publication; the power to exercise jurisdiction over a matter and the discretionary non-exercise of jurisdiction; the impact of the unique characteristics of the internet and the desirability of technology-specific rules and principles; and other policy considerations surrounding this vexed area of law, such as the impact of globalisation; the need for certainty; freedom of expression; the need to give due recognition to foreign legal systems; the legitimate interests of plaintiffs and defendants; and the existing, practical solutions to problems posed by multistate defamation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: Defamation, Private international law, Internet; Publication, Jurisdiction, Forum non conveniens, Dow Jones v Gutnick, Globalisation, Freedom of expression

JEL Classification: K10, K33, K41

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Date posted: July 12, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Rolph, David, The Message, Not the Medium: Defamation, Publication and the Internet in Dow Jones & Co Inc v Gutnick. ; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/48. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1000090

Contact Information

David Rolph (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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