QLD Business Published in Australian Publication - Defamation?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by Joanne Davis, 18 September 2018.

  1. Joanne Davis

    Joanne Davis Member

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    Hi,

    About 4 years ago in Mid 2014, our Unimog Motorhome was showcased in a spread in the an Australian magazine. This was an article we worked on together with the magazine. Part of the spread concentrated on our Seawater Reverse Osmosis (RO) and its ability to allow us to stay at destinations longer. We were happy with the article. No agreement was entered into.

    In late 2014, we began operation in a new business designing and manufacturing portable seawater RO systems. We are still currently operating this business. Our first RO unit that was showcased in the mid 2014 article is now our opposition.

    In September 2015, the same publications did a 9-page article showcasing our Unimog once again, this article was published in a major Australia publication.

    I had no idea the article was to be published, no one contacted us for any input whatsoever. For the article, photos had been sourced from our public Facebook page and our public online photo albums and blog posts. Some of the photos were dreadful, showcasing in what I could only call quite feral looking, and I would never ever agree to have them published in a magazine.

    Apart from the utter embarrassment of the photos, of us, in the article our main concern was we had now been in business selling our own Australian manufactured RO systems for some time and this article once again talked about the watermaker we once had, our opposition, with clear photos showing the RO sytems brand etc. and stating that we recommend this brand.

    At the time, we were traveling Australia doing many trade shows to showcase our RO unit and how we used it in our Unimog throughout Australia. Having a nine-page article linking us to our opposition and advertising that this is the unit we have and recommend was quite devastating to us and our business.

    The Media publication stated they only used information we had provided them and they were sorry for the inconvenience. This statement is not true as I would never have provided the photos they used in this article, there was also quite a few inaccuracies in the article.

    As an apology, they offered to place a full-page ad in the next edition that we could design, this article would showcase our RO unit and link it to us. We agreed to this and work was commenced on this article. As it turned out they said our product was not suitable for the magazine after all and the ad was placed in a different magazine which made it rather redundant as it was placed at the back amongst all the other adds and had no effect and disassociating us from the first article in a different magazine.

    Anyway we sucked it up and moved on with the assurance this would not happen again.

    Later on, we found out that they have continued to circulate this magazine with our article as an extra along with newer additions further compounding the problem.

    On the weekend I was sent some photos of an article that has just been published in a new magazine from this company. The article once again uses 5-year-old images and images sourced from our public profile and is full of inaccuracies and once again features our oppositions RO unit.

    Our business and our credibility in business will once again be affected, it clearly shows the RO unit with the oppositions logo and states that it has been purchased form the USA, and that this is what we recommend.

    Business is hard enough in Australia, and having to take another hit like this from such high-profile publication (the new magazine was attached as an extra to their most read magazine) will affect us in ways I am not even able to fathom at the moment. And worst still is I don’t know how to stop them doing it again.

    I did explain to them last time what had occurred and I took the situation gracefully knowing they were not to know that things have changed (although seeing as the images they used are my IP I am not sure why I was never contacted, these were not the images I supplied on the first article) but now we are 4 years in business and this is a real punch from these guys.

    They are using statements from 4 years ago that are no longer true.

    I am just very upset at the moment, this publishing company seems to be dead set on destroying an Australian Business and sending people to our opposition in the USA.

    I have copies of all correspondence I have had with the company including promises that this situation would never be repeated and that no further articles would be published without us being first contacted as all previous agreements had been revoked.

    Do I have any legal standing on this defamation that will not cost me more money than I have? Or can they just get away with doing this over and over and continuing to circulate these magazines.

    Regards
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    You should consult a lawyer who has some experience dealing with both defamation and injurious falsehoods. No need to go to a high priced city lawyer in the first instance as the first step is writing a cease and desist letter, possibly with some kind of 'offer to make amends' request.

    Strict time limits apply. Generally speaking it is 12 months from publication. There are some exceptions to this time limit, but better to assume 12 months.
     
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