WHEN Marieke Hardy's red-raggin' grandad, Frank Hardy, wrote a roman a clef of Melbourne life and corruption, he was sued for defamation by John Wren's widow, a devout, Mass-every-morning lady who took umbrage that his readers might conclude she had taken a lover, as did the wife of the novel's central character. Hardy won the case on the grounds that, as the widow had never had an affair nor done anything else untoward, she could not possibly be the inspiration for the Power Without Glory character.
That was some very smart lawyering right there, but such logic would quite clearly have done First Tuesday Book Club's resident doxy no good in her just-settled legal tussle with inoffensive blogger Joshua Meggitt, who will collect a reported $13,000 for having been branded a stalker. Hardy not only named the wrong man, her travails have inspired the real needler to go back on line.
Hardy need not worry too much, however. Her admirers are flooding the comments with witty quips about the tormenter's misshapen private parts, amorous interest in dogs and solitary habits. Marieke must be so chuffed to have a legion of supporters who express their admiration via imitation, the sincerest form of flattery.
Less pleased, perhaps, will be Jonathan Green of the Drum, whose site re-broadcast Marieke's wrongly directed assault on Meggitt, omitting only his name (which was common knowledge all over the web). It is too much to hope that one of the legal wizards who defended old Frank might still be working and ready for a brief, but the Drum is going to need someone of equal calibre if it is to wriggle out of this one. As Meggitt's lawyer, Stuart Gibson, notes, "'where an original publisher apologises, one would be foolish to ignore subsequent republishers of the same material''. Especially a slur that remains on the site to this day.
If this all works out as it probably will, what a happy result! Marieke gets back her $13,000 via First Tuesday tit-wiggling and suspender-flashing, while her new column for young Ben Knapsack, who is taking charge of Fairfax's Good Weekend, also will be a nice little earner. Meanwhile, those forking out 8 cents a day (or is now 25c?) can take heart that some of it may end up in Meggitt's pocket, rather underwriting the further misadventures of their ABC.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Marieke's Money Shot
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What happened to Knapsack and The Monthly? He was at The Monthly, right?ReplyDelete
Presumably Hardy also has some claims on the royalties from Granddad's books, although I can't recall seeing any in print for at least two decades.ReplyDelete
BTW, Book clubs are, and have been for some time, comic social cliches, like Tupperware parties or B&S balls. Book club members are stereotypical figures of fun, overeducated housewives and randy MILF-hunting blokes. Why anyone would want to make TV program around a book club format without satirical intent beats me!
They probably wanted and deserved $80K, but when confronted with documented evidence of her actual financial state, regrettably decided to settle for $13K, i.e. every spare cent she has.ReplyDelete
If the yearly budget is a billion, it's around 13c a day now.ReplyDelete
Statutes in some jurisdictions have amended this definition, but (and very generally speaking) at common law a publication is defamatory if it would tend to cause a person to be hated, or ridiculed, or treated with contempt. The Hardy episode could well result in more than one defamation suit, some perhaps run by Hardy. I just mention this Prof to cause you to pause a bit from time to time. I have not researched this issue, but is the creation of a link to a another site a publication of whatever can be read on the link?ReplyDelete
Dinner is over and I have done a little research. A 2011 Canadian Supreme Court case held that the creation of a hyperlink was not a publication of the matter at that link. BUT, one judge dissented, and the Australian High Court could well follow that dissent or take a different route to holding that creation of a link is a publication. The case is discussed atReplyDelete
There are parallels in the domain of on-line music piracy, where linking to a pirate music site has been contested at litigation.ReplyDelete
LOl. What a stupid bitch. Good to see that blog starting up again with the last laugh.ReplyDelete
In the military, I believe that's known as "screwing the pooch"...ReplyDelete
It wouldn't be surprising if the Australian High Court did hold that creation of a hyperlink is equivalent to publication. They've proven themselves to be an utter joke on numerous occasions, so what the heck, what's one more example.ReplyDelete
I mean, the judge who recently banned sales of Samsung computer tablets obviously got her cue from somewhere? In that case she wasn't sufficiently in tune with her masters to channel their headspace with sufficient resolution. Still, it did speak volumes about our judges and their authoritarian predispositions.
Hey, don't you know, legal folk go to uni for four whole years. So they must be better than the average sucker, right?
The Australian High Court aren't particularly stupid compared to the lower court judges.ReplyDelete