Company Who Sued Over Forum Comments Appoints Administrator

Company Who Sued Over Forum Comments Appoints Administrator

By Nathan Statz

October 23, 2007: When accounting software provider, 2Clix launched into legal action over comments made about its products on the popular Australian broadband forum, Whirlpool the public backlash was quick and brutal, in what could be the final chapter of 2Clix’s very public history the company is on the verge of appointing an administrator to go into liquidation.

Despite a name change to Platinum One software after the ordeal with Whirlpool, things have obviously not been going well for 2Clix who’s Managing Director; David Morgan has stepped down and confirmed that “2Clix has appointed an administrator. I'm no longer employed by 2Clix, I'm basically only here cleaning up... Will be out of here when I finish cleaning up” he said.

Despite Morgan’s confirmation, the appointment of an administrator hasn’t officially been confirmed according to Jason Bettles, Partner at Worrels Solvency and Forensic accountants. “I’ve prepared some forms which have been sent to them (2Clix) the purpose of which is to commence liquidation when the forms are sent back” he said.

According to Bettles, the indication has been made that 2Clix doesn’t have much of a future and is very likely to face liquidation. The liquidation process would involve a 7 day warning issued to shareholders, followed by a shareholder meeting and a creditors meeting following that in order to commence.

When 2Clix launched its $150,000 lawsuit against Whirlpool owner Simon Wright, the aim was to recoup revenue lost and to have the forum threads entitled “2Clix or not 2Clix?” and “Anyone used 2Clix?” permanently removed from the website. This action incited an intense public reaction and demonstrated the power of social networking commentary in rallying support against unpopular corporate legal action.

The reaction was so widespread that it reached many international news sites and spread virally through forums, blogs, instant messengers and other social networks like Myspace and Facebook. 2Clix’s lawsuit also drew response from the online lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) who publicly condemned the attack:

"This action is an attack on freedom of speech and the ability of consumers to engage in legitimate online criticism," said EFA Chairperson Dale Clapperton. "One of the great benefits of the Internet is that it allows consumers to become better informed, by searching for information about products or services. If negative comments about poor quality goods or services can't be published for fear of a lawsuit, consumers will be unable to properly inform themselves."

The major public interest in the case wasn’t only motivated by the desire to help David take on Goliath, but also because of the wide ranging implications of the lawsuit should if have been successful. When end users post commentary on public forums, the owners of the forum have largely let free speech flow and kept moderation levels to the prevention of inappropriate images and extremely foul language. Should the lawsuit have been successful then moderation of user comments would have likely risen to stifling levels in fear of legal reprisal.

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