NZ's first Internet defamation case beckons

Last-minute attempts to negotiate a settlement in the Domainz defamation case have failed and the case will be heard in the Palmerston North District Court this morning.

Last-minute attempts to negotiate a settlement in the Domainz defamation case have failed and the case will be heard in the Palmerston North District Court this morning.

The claim, brought by former Domainz CEO Patrick O'Brien against Internet Society of New Zealand (Isocnz) member Alan Brown over comments Brown made in a posting to the Isocnz members' mailing list in December 1999, has convulsed the society.

Along with the Domainz Registry System overseen by O'Brien, the lawsuit prompted a clean-out of sitting councilors at last year's Isocnz AGM and subsequently of the board of Domainz, which is owned by Isocnz.

But the new Domainz board has not been able to extract itself from its predecessor's commitment to fully fund O'Brien's action without potentially exposing itself to legal action from the former CEO, who now runs Singapore's domain name registry.

Board chairman Bob Gray admitted to IDGNet recently that the law firm Izard Weston was being instructed directly by O'Brien and that Domainz' only involvement was to write the cheques.

Moves within Isocnz may not be at an end, however. There are further moves underway to call a Special General Meeting of the society, which could instruct Domainz to stop funding the action, pay Brown's legal costs, or both.

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