12 August 2009

Cyberspace September 2009

Watch out

I recently received a letter from "Domain Renewal Group" inviting me to renew my domain name with them. However, my registrar is a completely different company. On closer inspection it was actually an invitation to switch to them as my registrar and renew for $45 pa. However, I actually use GoDaddy, and I pay $12.75 pa. The letter also invited me to purchase a related .info domain for $75 for 2 years. GoDaddy sells .info domains for around $1. DRG is well known across the internet for these sorts of letters, and the letters are vaugely similar to those sent in 2003 by Domain Names Australia, for which it was sued by the ACCC (FCA v 926 of 2003). Moral of the story? Read the fine print (speaking of which, was literally 1mm high on the back of the letter).

Windows 7

As a Microsoft Technet subscriber I am now using Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7 on my main computer. It works well, even with old programs, seems to be as fast as Windows XP, and offers more security against malicious attacks. But should you upgrade when it's released in October? Don't upgrade existing business systems running Windows XP. Wait until you need to refresh your hardware and your new systems will have 7 pre-installed. Having said that, make sure you test all your software and confirm with your suppliers that they will support their software under Windows 7. Windows Vista users might be more interested in upgrading, as it is very likely that anything that runs on Vista will run on 7, and 7 is faster than Vista on the same hardware. The same warning about testing applies though.

Working online

I recently wrote about ways to save a lot of cash and use better systems when setting up a new office by using software (and telephony) as a service, rather than installing and maintaining your own software and hardware. I've also written about online wordprocessing using Google Docs or Zoho. Microsoft has just announced it is going to offer a similar online system which will allow you to access your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files from anywhere. You'll be able to use the full Office applications (and this will be the main way you use it in the office), as well as less powerful versions in the web browser and on mobile phones and other devices. There will be a free but advert-laden version and a paid subscription. The latter may even be sufficient for many small businesses who don't use the complex features in Office.

Around the courts

Remedies, particularly in Trade Practices cases, can be inventive. In ACCC v Harvey Fresh (1994) Limited [2009] FCA 853 the Court ordered that the unsuccessful respondent publish a specified statement on its home page that was viewable immediately upon accessing the web site, include its logo and be at least 40% of the "images on the screen."

In Sands V Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Ltd & Anor [2009] SASC 215 the court considered the defamation common law defence of fair and accurate report where the publication ocurred on the Internet. This was an important point, as at the time South Australian legislation provided no statutory protection. The court held that the common law defence did apply to the Internet. Another interesting remark was that:
There is no presumption of law that there has been substantial publication in respect of an internet publication. It is for the plaintiff to prove that the material in question was accessed and downloaded. In this case there has been no “platform of facts” proved by the plaintiff from which an inference can be drawn that substantial publication of the website article occurred within South Australia.
The moral? Don't forget to subpoena or seek discovery of the web server logs!

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