Defamation News: Stage 2 Defamation law reforms

Following the recent High Court’s decision in Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Voller and Google LLC v Defteros, draft amendments were released to Australia’s defamation laws, relating to intermediary liability (as stage 2).

The key recommendations/proposed amendments relate to:

  1. A conditional exemption from defamation liability for mere conduits, caching and storage services;
  2. A conditional exemption from defamation liability for search engines when they are providing standard search engine functions;
  3. Two alternative models for a defence for digital intermediaries, being:
  • Model A – A defence for digital intermediaries that requires them to have a simple complaints notice process and upon receipt of a complaints notice, to provide (with consent) identifying information about the poster to the complainant or to take steps to prevent access to the material, which were reasonable in the circumstances (safe habour defence); or
  • Model B – A defence for digital intermediaries, which requires them to have a simple complaints notice process and upon receipt of a complaint, to take steps to prevent access to the material, which were reasonable in the circumstances (innocent dissemination defence).
  1. Whether the Commonwealth Government should consider whether defamation law should be carved out from the operation of s.235(1) of Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth), which deals with the liability of Australian hosting providers and ISPs for certain content online.

The recommendations propose that a digital intermediary be defined as “a person, other than an author, origination or poster of the matter, who provides an online service in connection with the publication of the matter.” Thus, it would also cover social media platforms, review websites and forum administrators, in addition to search engines and ISPs.

Additionally, the recommendations propose to give the Courts power to make an order against non-parties to prevent online access to defamatory matter.

The proposed amendments raise issues as to how they will work with the current statutory scheme and existing common law position relating to search engines. The reforms may not provide a complete defamation immunity for digital intermediaries in respect to all the business activity, depending on how they are drafted in final form. For example, the proposed exemption for liability for search engines is “limited to search results generated using the search engine from search terms inputted by the user of the engine rather than terms automatically suggested  by the engine.

It will be interesting to see how the final proposed amendments look at the close of written submission on 9 September 2022.

Should you have any defamation enquiries, please contact Danielle Snell and Robert McGirr of Elit Lawyers on (03) 9098 8646.

Share
Email
Print

Get in touch

With us personally, it is just one more way we’re different.

Danielle Snell

CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER

.

Robert McGirr

CO-FOUNDER AND PARTNER

.

"

"I just wanted to thank you all for the hard work and dedication you put into my Workcover case. A special thanks to Aggie whom I'm glad I chose to support me."

Personal Injury

Shane

I just wanted to thank you all for the hard work and dedication you put into my Workcover case.

A special thanks to Aggie whom I’m glad I chose to support me and give me the step by step instructions on how to go about proving my case for a result in my favour.

Thanks again for all your advice.

"

"Aggie is the best lawyer in Common Law Claims I have ever worked with. Aggie helped me achieve an extraordinary outcome."

Common Law Claim

Ian

Aggie is the best lawyer in Common Law Claims I have ever worked with. Having seen a couple of large Law Firms l felt let down, being quickly shown the front door. Luckily for me a friend suggested seeing Aggie Vlahos (Partner).

Having engaged Aggie Vlahos gave me the confidence to continue with the injuries l knew were caused by heavy physical and repetitive work. I am also indebted to Brendan Johnson (Barrister) for his outstanding efforts!

She explained everything in a way I could easily understand and always got back to me quickly when I had questions even outside her working hours.

Aggie helped me achieve an extraordinary outcome. However, only charged fair fees.

If someone is seeking a legal help, I highly recommend Aggie Vlahos and Elit Lawyers.

P.S. Thanks to you so much Aggie

"

"I had the good luck to be recommended to Aggie Vlahos for handling my Estate Litigation Case. Through Aggie I achieved a very satisfying result."

Estate Litigation

Jan

I had the good luck to be recommended to Aggie Vlahos for handling my Estate Litigation Case. She was always available to me, no matter how big or small my concern was. She was kind, patient, easy to talk to and very understanding regarding my troubles.

The case was resolved within only 5 months, which I was grateful for. Through Aggie I achieved a very satisfying result.

I would have no hesitation in recommending her to others.

 

"

"If you want a safe, caring, professional group of lawyers and company, look no further than Aggie Vlahos and Elit Lawyers."

Family Law Matter

Michael

Thank you to Aggie Vlahos (Partner) and the staff at Elit Law, also James Eley (Barrister). You did a marvelous job in representing me in relation to my family matter and most importantly caring about me and providing a secure environment for me to navigate a very difficult situation.

The result you achieved was nothing short of amazing. The professionalism displayed on the day by Aggie and James blew me away. With their invaluable guidance and support we achieved a extremely favourable result.

If you want a safe, caring, professional group of lawyers and company, look no further than Elit Lawyers.

Great people, Great Service, Great Company.

 

"

"The best of the best plaintiff lawyers against insurance companies. We had a very tough and complex case and Danielle and her team settled with the insurance company for an optimal outcome."

Insurance Policy Holder

Home owner

The best of the best plaintiff lawyers team against insurance companies.

We had a very tough and complex case against insurance company that we lost our home and contents.  After disappointing and frustrating process from another law firm and firing them we found Danielle Snell and her team.

They are very dedicated, knowledgeable, passionate and possess great communication skills.  We couldn’t ask for more and settled with a optimal outcome.

"

"It’s great to be able to confidently refer clients to someone who can help and support them, and to feel that they are receiving the best service."

Senior Adviser

Financial Planner

We are so glad to have you in our referral channel.

It’s great to be able to confidently refer clients to someone who can help and support them, and to feel that they are receiving the best service.

Previous
Next

Can't find what you're looking for?