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|Friday, July 20, 2001, updated at 10:24(GMT+8)|
Beijing Court Hears First E-mail Tort CaseAfter domain name, poster and Internet literature all have been involved in legal actions and e-mail didn't escape. The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court on July 18 heard the city's first ever e-mail tort case.
The defendant is Beijing Dentsu Advertising Co Ltd, and the e-mail was sent from the personal box of one of its staff members. The plaintiff, Shanghai 24/7 Internet Corporation, says in its bill of complaint that they are the plenipotentiary of 24/7 Media ASIA in China's mainland and enjoy good reputation in its circle. However, on December 5, 2000, they received an e-mail from counterpart websites labeled as important. The mail says if (we are) all like 24/7 the market would be disrupted and users can not receive systematic, sustained service and would resort to short-sighted actions with everything driven by costs. The letter also accused them as "unreasonably cut ads prices and disrupt Internet ads market".
24/7 holds that although the letter was sent from personal box of a Dentsu staff member, it can be regarded as deliberate action of the company from its wording and signature. What's more, it contains calumnious contents and damaged 24/7's reputation. So they take legal actions and require Dentsu to make apology publicly and eliminate the impact made.
While Dentsu argues that it is just an independent personal action not authorized by the company. What's more, 24/7 do have actions of unfair competition such as release untrue price information, and Dentsu's staff member is just protecting the right order of market prices.
The two-hour hearing didn't yield any final decision. While judicial staff from the court call for enacting of relevant laws as early as possible since Internet cases surged in recent two years.
By PD Online staff member Li Heng
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