The Legal Bits
Code of Conduct
We could of course have echoed US economist Gary Shilling’s observations on his blog: “Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.”
But, no ...
Tasmanian Times is dedicated to independent, lively debate about politics, media, business, culture and society generally, but with a particular emphasis on Tasmania. We welcome your participation in this discussion, but we ask that you help us keep the conversation useful, interesting and welcoming.
We aim to publish all comments submitted promptly and without editing but ask that you help Tasmanian Times by following the comments guidelines.
In 2010, TT published approximately 25,000 comments. In 2011 comments are running at approximately twice the 2010 rate. Tasmanian Times runs on the dream of an oily rag and the voluntary workload in moderating comments is growing dramatically. Complying with the code of conduct is one way that you can ensure that Tasmanian Times publishes comments quickly and devotes as much time as possible to adding new editorial content.
So here’s a few rules of thumb to consider before you submit a comment
1. Tone matters: A constructive, engaging and respectful tone helps facilitate better understanding on the points of disagreement and agreement between contributors. It also ensures that readers of the articles continue on to read comments.
2. Civility promotes debate: We ask that people ‘play the ball not the person’. Remember, a thread that resembles a sparring session will end up having a tiny readership. If you want your comments to be read by as many others as possible, sticking to the issues helps keep the discussion interesting. Avoid aggressive language, taunts, swearing and sexist comments. Comments that could be interpreted as bullying, threatening or encouraging legal action or advocating property destruction or violence will be deleted.
3. Contribute and clarify: If you can, provide a link or contribute additional information that helps inform other readers. Or, if you are uncertain about a point, ask a question and seek clarification.
4. Pen names: As far as possible, we prefer people to contribute comments under their own real name. Tasmanian Times accepts that some good-faith contributors prefer to use a pen name. We also acknowledge that it is impossible to prevent people from registering under what appear to be real names using valid email addresses.
However, we ask that where people who work for private companies, government agencies or political parties post comments in work time promoting their employers’ policies, then they should be up-front about disclosing who they work for. Where we become aware that people are using anonymity to peddle their employers’ views without disclosure, we will err on deleting the comments.
5. One persona: Sometimes it is obvious that one person is creating multiple personas to submit comments. Sometimes this can be multiple personas on one thread to create the illusion that multiple people support one view. Sometimes one persona is used on one thread and another on a different thread. Where TT is aware that multiple personas have been used by one person, the comments will be deleted.
Some simple style points that would ease Tasmanian Times‘s editing workload
1. Lower case letters are quieter and softer on the eyes; upper case words are the equivalent of shouting. Tasmanian Times simply doesn’t have time to retype comments or parts of comments which include capitals. Sorry, but comments which include sentences in capitals will be deleted.
2. Use a spellchecker in your browser window before you submit a comment. Alternatively, compose your comment in your word processor or email program, run the spellchecker and then cut and paste it into the comments field. A surprisingly high proportion of comments have one or more spelling errors. We don’t expect perfection but we appreciate it if you can tweak your comment at your end rather than rely on Tasmanian Times to do it.
Some legal red flags
Under Australian law, companies which employ more than 10 people can’t sue for defamation. But smaller companies and individuals can. Without going into the complexities of defamation law, key elements of a defence relate to truth and public interest.
So some rough rules of thumb for avoiding legal skirmishes are:
1. Avoid playing the individual. Any terms that could be construed as diminishing the personal or professional standing of an individual could be defamatory. Avoid describing people as liars, engaging in lying or corrupt.
2. Even if you don’t mention someone by name, it may be possible that individuals could reasonably be identified by the public. For example, a statement that “all the members of the Tasmanian XXXX are corrupt” would be defamatory of all the members of the group even if it had been proven that one of the members of the group had been convicted of corruption.
3. If you are angry when you are writing something, it is best to set it aside and see if that’s how you would write it 24 hours later.
How we aim to edit comments
1. Tasmanian Times aims to publish all comments received which are consistent with the code. In Tasmanian Times‘s view, the greater the diversity of comments published the better. Comments are not deleted because of the point of view expressed but they are because of how they are expressed.
2. TT aims to have comments published within 12 hours of being submitted. Usually comments are published within a few hours of being submitted though Tasmanian Times editors kick back a bit on the weekend and public holidays.
3. To reduce the lead time in publishing comments and eliminate editing time, Tasmanian Times aims to publish comments in their entirety or not at all. Editing comments to take out a sentence here or a few problematic words there is time-consuming and risks unfairly distorting the author’s original intent.
4. When reviewing comments, Tasmanian Times editors scans to see whether they are off-topic, legally risky or breach the code provisions. TT’s default operating procedure is that if in doubt, delete. The reason for this is that if a comment in the unpublished comments queue is held pending further consideration, it causes all the comments on the same thread to bank up behind it. (Or, if held back while others are published first, it causes problems with the numbering which then causes other problems).
5. Tasmanian Times has a number of people who help share the load in moderating comments. While we aim for consistency in interpreting the standards of the code we don’t always get it right. However, if you find that your comments aren’t being published on a regular basis, please review the code and see where it is that you could be going wrong.
Thanks for your assistance in helping make Tasmanian Times better.
The TT Team.
Tasmanian Times aims to work within the law. Our policy is to immediately remove any inaccurate or defamatory material brought to our attention and publicly acknowledge and correct all our mistakes. If you believe you’ve been defamed by anything on Tasmanian Times, email email@example.com
This website is owned by Tasmanian Times Pty Ltd.
The company’s contact details are:
Telephone: 03 62852523
Post: 9 Phoenix St, Howrah, Hobart, Tasmania, 7018.
Disclaimer and Legal Notices
Access to and use of this site is provided by Tasmanian Times Pty Ltd on the following conditions and according to any other directions or rules of use on this site.
If you access this site (other than to read these Terms for the first time), you agree to these Terms. If you do not agree to these Terms, you should not review information or obtain goods or products from this site.
We reserve the right to change the Terms at any time by posting changes on-line. You are responsible for informing yourself of any changes by regularly reviewing these pages. If you access the site after changes are posted, you agree to all changes (including those which you are then unaware have been posted).
Use of this site is at your risk. None of us, our affiliates or any of our or their respective directors, officers, employees, agents, contributors, third party content providers or licensors:
- makes any express or implied representation or warranty about, or
- shall be liable, in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise, for any direct, indirect, special or consequential loss, damages or reliance in connection with,
- this site, its use, its content or any products or services (including our products or services) referred to on this site. This includes (but is not restricted to) loss or damage you might suffer as a result of any of the following:
- your reliance on the completeness, accuracy, suitability or currency of the site or its content (including third party material and advertisements on this site), irrespective of any verifying measures taken by us. This site is designed for general interest only. It is not advice and you should not rely on it.
- failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, failure to correct defects, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus or other harmful component, loss of data, communication line failure, unlawful third party conduct, or theft, destruction, alteration or unauthorised access to records.
- accessing any sites or servers maintained by other organisations through links on this site. Links are provided for the convenience of our site users only and without responsibility for the content or operation of those sites. Unless otherwise stated, linked sites and their products and services are not endorsed by us and your linking to any such site is at your own risk.
- the provision of credit card or other financial information, the failure to complete (or delay in completing) any transaction, or other loss or damage arising from any e-commerce transacted or attempted to be transacted on this site.
- defamatory, threatening, offensive or unlawful conduct of third parties or our publication of any materials relating to or constituting such conduct.
Opinions expressed on this site are those of the relevant contributors. We do not necessarily share those opinions.
No advice given
If you require specific advice for your individual circumstances, consult an appropriate expert directly. Do not rely on the general material on this site. We will endeavour to assist you if you specifically inquire about matters in which we have expertise, but cannot accept any responsibility for doing this.
Continued site availability and access
We do not warrant that we will continue to make this site available generally or at all and reserve the right at any time to impose or increase fees for your future access to any material appearing on this site. We reserve the right at any time to alter the site in such a way as to change the equipment needed by you to access or use the site or any part of it.
Limitation of our liability (if any) to you
Our total liability to you (if any) for loss, damage or reliance shall be limited, at our election, to:
- in the case of information or services supplied or offered by us - the re-supply of the information or services or payment of the cost of doing this;
- in the case of products supplied or offered by us - repair or replacement of the products, supply of equivalent products, or payment of the cost of doing this; or
- the amount paid by you (if any) for accessing this site.
You indemnify us, our affiliates and our respective employees, agents, contributors, third party content providers and licensors from and against all actions, suits, claims, demands, liabilities, costs, expenses, loss and damage (including legal fees on a full indemnity basis) incurred or suffered by you or by us as a direct or indirect consequence of:
- your accessing, using or transacting on this site or your attempts to do so (except for our costs of making this site available to you that you have not agreed to meet); and
- any breach by you or your agents of the Terms.
- Rights we cannot exclude, limit or disclaim
This disclaimer, liability limitation and indemnity does not exclude any rights which by law may not be excluded.
Personal, non-commercial use
You are authorised to:
- download and view content; and
- use the software included in this site in doing this,
- for your own personal, non-commercial use, provided that you keep intact all copyright and other proprietary notices.
If you are an internet service or access provider, you are authorised to grant access to this site, intact, to your subscribers.
You must not, without our prior written permission, exploit any of our site materials for commercial purposes.
Creative commons licence
If a web page indicates that the content of that page is available for a dealing under a creative commons licence, you are also authorised to deal with the relevant content under the terms of that licence.
Except as expressly authorised under these Terms you may not, without our prior written permission and the permission of any other relevant rights owners, copy, mirror, broadcast, reproduce, frame, republish, download, store (in any medium), up-load to a third party, transmit, post, broadcast, distribute, show or play in public, adapt or change in any way the content of, or create a derivative work from, these web pages for any purpose.
This prohibition does not extend to:
- materials on this site which are expressed to be freely available for re-use or replication, subject to any conditions we specify; or
- any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review.
We can use your feedback
When you send us any feedback or suggestions about this site or our business, you agree that we can use and adapt any ideas, concepts, techniques, words or images contained in the feedback or suggestions for any purpose and without restriction or compensation.
We may add information to any message originated via this site.
Trade mark notices - Prohibition
No trade mark of ours (whether registered or otherwise) may be used without our prior, specific, written permission.
Disclaimer of association or endorsement
The use by us of another’s trade mark on this site is not of itself intended to indicate any association with, or endorsement by or of, the owner of that trade mark.
Lawful use only
You must use this site only for lawful purposes.
You must not up-load, post, transmit or otherwise make available through this site any material which:
- violates or infringes the rights of others (including their privacy and publicity rights).
- is unlawful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, invasive of privacy, vulgar, obscene, profane or which may harass or cause distress or inconvenience to, or incite hatred of, any person.
- encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any law.
- restricts or inhibits any other user from using or enjoying this site.
- affects the functionality or operation of this site or its servers or the functionality or operation of any users’ computer systems (for example, by transmitting a computer virus or other harmful component, whether or not knowingly).
- breaches any standards, content requirements or codes promulgated by any relevant authority, including authorities which require us to take remedial action under any applicable industry code.
Electronic addresses posted on this site are published for professional communications only and do not constitute an invitation to send unsolicited commercial emails, including (but not limited to) emails offering to supply goods or services. Except as authorised by these Terms, you must not harvest email addresses from this site or use or publish email addresses for any purpose without our written consent.
No promotional materials
You must not, without our prior written consent, up-load, post, transmit or otherwise make available through this site any material which contains promotional material, advertising or any solicitation (whether commercial or otherwise) for products of services.
No infringement of others’ proprietary rights
You must not, without the express permission of the relevant rights owner, up-load, post, transmit or otherwise make available through this site any material protected by copyright, trade mark or other proprietary rights.
Our licence to use your contributions
If you submit material to this site, you grant, or warrant that the owner of such material has granted, to us and our affiliates, third party content providers and licensors a world-wide, non-exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable, unrestricted and fully sub-licensable right to:
- use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display such materials, or incorporate them in other works, in whole or in part;
- use the names and images (if any) that you submit with any such material, including names and images identifying you as the author of the material; and
- exploit all proprietary rights (such as copyright, trade marks and service marks) in any such material, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed, for any purpose, commercial or otherwise (including promotion of us or our objectives).
You consent to us and any person authorised by us doing any or all of the above despite all moral and similar rights you may have or later acquire in respect of any such material.
At our request and expense, you will execute and deliver to us all such instruments and take such other actions as may be requested by us to obtain the benefit of and perfect this grant of licence and consent.
Others’ licence to use your contributions
If we publish material submitted by you, you permit all other users to access, view, store or reproduce the material for their personal, non-commercial use.
If we publish material submitted by you on a web page that indicates that the content of that page is available for a dealing under a creative commons licence, others are also authorised to deal with the relevant content under the terms of that licence. Subject to a separate written agreement with you, we may elect whether or not to make your material available to others under a creative commons licence. Typically, comments and forum postings will be available under a creative commons licence (but this does not limit our rights to treat other materials in the same manner).
Monitoring site content
If you submit material to this site, you permit us, for any reason, to:
- monitor the content of this site, including chat rooms, electronic bulletin boards, forums and other communications facilities, to determine compliance with these conditions; and
- edit, refuse to post or remove any material submitted by you.
- However, we do not assume any obligation to monitor or censor materials.
- We reserve the right to host moderated or unmoderated forums or other web pages to which site users can post materials (“Forums”). We are not responsible for:
- materials posted to Forums by third parties, whether or not we moderate those Forums;
- materials altered by us in moderating Forums; or
- our removal of, or failure to remove, all or any part of those materials.
Co-operation with authorities
We reserve the right to co-operate fully with any law enforcement authority in any jurisdiction in respect of a lawful direction or request to disclose the identity or other information about anyone posting materials which the authority claims violates any applicable law.
Disclaimer about others’ materials
You acknowledge that third party materials appearing on this site are not necessarily controlled or monitored by us and that the views expressed are not necessarily ours.
Creating links to this site
You are welcome to create links from your web pages to these web pages. However, you must not use our trade marks in doing so unless you have our written permission. We are happy to discuss this with you.
Tasmania, Australia law applies
This site (excluding any linked, third party sites) is controlled by us from Australia. Subject to any over-riding conflict of laws principle, these Terms and your dealings with us are governed by the laws in force in Tasmania, Australia. You irrevocably and unconditionally submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of courts exercising jurisdiction there.
These Terms constitute the entire and only agreement between us and you, and supersede all prior or contemporaneous agreements, conduct, representations, warranties and understandings with respect to the site or the subject matter of these Terms.
Any provision of these Terms that is prohibited or unenforceable in any jurisdiction will be ineffective in that jurisdiction to the extent of the prohibition or unenforceability. That will not invalidate the remaining Terms nor affect the validity or enforceability of that provision in any other jurisdiction.
Site or content may be unlawful outside Australia
We do not warrant that the content of this site complies with the laws of any country outside of Australia. If you access this site from outside of Australia, you do so at your own risk and you accept responsibility for ensuring or confirming compliance with all laws that apply to you as a result of that access or any consequent transactions or dealings with us.
Your responsibilities under laws affecting you
You are responsible for ensuring that your use of this site is lawful, does not infringe any third party’s rights and does not breach any standards, content requirements or codes promulgated by any relevant authority (including relevant Internet industry codes of practice).
You are of legal age
You warrant that you are of legal age and capacity. Children must not use this site without the express permission of their parents, guardians or other responsible adults.
No offers where illegality arises
Nothing on this site constitutes an offer to provide products or services in any jurisdiction if to do so would contravene the laws of that jurisdiction.
These Terms have been prepared in the English language and must be construed accordingly.