Apparently left-leaning fact-checker extraordinaire and UNSW IT academic Tim Lambert is celebrating April Fool’s day early, and has set up a mirror site of Tim Blair’s blog. But there’s a very real question of just who’s the fool here. Naturally it’s got all TB’s RWDBs huffing and puffing with well-practised conspicuous indignation.
But on this occasion at least, I agree with the Blairites. Tim Lambert has gone too far. He may not be breaching copyright law, because it seems he’s written code that simply points back to Blair’s blog, but it also points to a Haloscan comment box facility that allows anyone to comment on the “Tim Blair” blog without censorship from TB’s “hired muscle” Andrea Harris. Predictably the Haloscan facility is populated with comments from the usual crowd of Howard/Blair haters, mixed with members of the Blair hit squad (justifiably on this occasion) venting their spleens. It makes unpleasant reading, and I really wonder why Lambert has bothered.
It probably seemed like a cute idea to Lambert, subverting Blair’s illiberal commenting regime. Unfortunately, quite apart from the fact that Blair is perfectly entitled to be as illiberal as he likes on his own blog, the “Tim Blair” blog is probably unlawful. It may not breach copyright law, but it probably DOES breach the misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of the Trade Practices Act, and may also amount to the tort of deceit. Blair would be entirely justified in suing Lambert IMO, so it might be better if Lambert backs down first.