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Defamation in cyberspace:
Reactions to the High Court's decision in Dow Jones v Gutnick

Held in Sydney on 18 December 2002

Seminar by

Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
and Communications Law Centre

These two centres, associated with the Law Faculty at UNSW and several leading law firms, jointly held a quick-response seminar on the High Court's recent controversial decision on whether an Australian can sue in an Australian court for allegedly defamatory material about them on the Internet, material which is read by people in Australia but hosted in the USA:

Dow Jones & Company Inc. v. Gutnick [2002] HCA 56 (10 December 2002)

Where does a defamation occur, and where should it be litigated, when the publisher and the reader are in different countries? In its long-awaited decision, the High Court of Australia became the most senior court in the world to give its views on these thorny questions of defamation and private international law. Its decision went decisively against the New Jersey-based Dow Jones, and the many interveners from local and global publishing and Internet companies.

  • What does this mean for publishers, for ISPs, for Internet users and for those subject to media comment?
  • Are technical remedies going to be called upon to restrict who can read material on overseas sites?
  • Will Australian Internet users find they are locked out of international sites?
  • Or is this a storm in a teacup? Does this case really change the existing law?


Wednesday, 18th December 2002
5:45 pm for 6:00; drinks and discussion from 7:00


Baker & McKenzie Board Room,
26th floor, AMP Centre
50 Bridge St
Sydney NSW


The diverse group of about 60 participants, including many from media organisations and defamation law practice were addressed by an expert panel, including:

  • Anne Flahvin, from Baker & McKenzie and UNSW Law Faculty
  • John Corker, from Clayton Utz and Principal Solicitor of Communications Law Centre
  • Gail Hambly, in-house counsel from Fairfax, one of the interveners
  • Barry Hammond, expert technical witness in the case

Inquiries Contact:

David Vaile, executive director
Email d.vaile [at] unsw.edu.au
Phone +61 (0)2 9385 3589


URL: http://www.cyberlawcentre.org/2002/Gutnick_seminar.htm