Felix Stalder on 4 Mar 2001 19:46:57 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] sharing e-mail banned by law - 5 years jail or $60,000 fines

[From: Eric Scheid <eric@ironclad.net.au>
To: "tbtf-irregulars" <tbtf-irregulars@world.std.com>]

When will the madness end?

An article in today's Sunday Telegraph (March 4, 2001), is the following
article, which I cannot find on their website :-(

Sharing email banned by law
By national political writer Simon Kearney

Forwarding an email to friends, family, or colleagues without permission
from the sender is illegal from today and could result in severe
penalties. New laws set out maximum penalties of five years' jail or
fines of $60,000. The illegality stems from breaching the copyright held
by the person who originally wrote the email. An estimated five million
or more emails are forwarded each day around the nation.

Attorney-General Daryl Williams QC has warned Australians that they could
be breaking the law if they continue to forward emails from today. "It's
quite possible that the forwarding of an email could be a technical
infringement of copyright," Mr Williams' legal adviser told The Sunday
Telegraph. "Emailing something is a 'communication' under the Digital
Agenda Act and so is putting something on a website."

The new measures cover material which already has copyright protection --
such as excerpts from books or song lyrics -- as well as personal
messages. This means a simple message about office gossip, holiday plans
or a new romance carries personal copyright and the recipient has no
right to forward it without permission.

An email sex scandal erupted in Britain last year when London lawyer
Bradley Chait forwarded a personal email from his girl friend, Clarie
Swire, to six friends , who in turn forward the email to others. The
email, which described his sexual prowess, eventually made its way around
the world and let to the lawyer being severely disciplined by his

Internet Industry Association executive director Peter Coroneos said
forwarding email had probably always involved a technical breach of
copyright, adding: "It's a matter of whether the authors themselves are
likely to be concerned."

He urged people sending email to spell out whether they gave permission
for the content to be forwarded to others.


<snide>What's next from our Glorious Leaders ... laws against chewing
with one's mouth open, elbows on the dinner table, and forgetting to

It all seems a bit ridiculous, and one might think that the law would be
pretty much ignored by one and all ... but then I have gloomy thoughts
about a certain british academic suing all and sundry, and getting away
with it. How many kooks will be trying on this caper?


eric@ironclad.net.au                 i r o n c l a d   n e t w o r k s
genius for hire                            http://www.ironclad.net.au/

Les faits sont faits.

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