Monday, March 05, 2007
Industry closes anti-coal website
March 5, 2007
THE mining industry has used copyright laws to close an anti-mining website launched by a small protest group in Newcastle.
The NSW Minerals Council has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a TV, print and billboard advertising campaign and launched a website extolling the virtues of mining. The campaign's slogan is "Life: brought to you by mining".
The anti-coal group Rising Tide created its own website sending up the campaign with comments such as "Rising sea levels: brought to you by mining".
The website's hosts were forced to remove it within 24 hours of its launch, after the Minerals Council issued a notice under the Copyright Regulations 1969 complaining the content and layout infringed copyright.
Rising Tide remade the website, using its own photographs and layout. However, the council lodged a second complaint.
"They are trying to silence us," said a Rising Tide member, Steve Phillips. "We have issued a counter-notice rejecting the Minerals Council's spurious claims. [It] now has 10 days in which to take the matter [to court]."
There is growing public concern about coal's contribution to climate change, and mining's threat to underground and above-ground water supplies.
The council's chief executive, Nikki Williams, said its complaint was not an attempt to silence Rising Tide. "They have to abide by the [copyright] laws," she said. However, she admitted she had not seen the revised website, and did not know if the council would take the matter to court.
Dr Williams disputed claims by Rising Tide that the council was running the campaign to counter growing concern about coal.
"It is a community awareness campaign … it is about establishing a fair voice for the mining industry; it is simply a matter of the facts," she said, referring to the benefits flowing from the industry such as jobs, cheap electricity and export revenue.