Minerals council backs off website battle

March 30, 2007

The NSW Minerals Council has backed away from legal action against Rising Tide, a community group campaigning against the expansion of the coal export industry in the Hunter region.

A website parodying a coal industry advertising campaign and critical of the climate change impacts of the coal export industry (<http://www.miningnsw.com.au>) received international attention last month when the NSW Minerals Council had the site pulled down under copyright law. The website was a satirical imitation of the council's website that described the negative social and environmental effects of the coal mining industry.

The council failed to follow through with threats to sue Rising Tide for alleged breach of copyright, instead sending a letter to Rising Tide on March 16 requesting changes be made to the site.

On March 28 Rising Tide responded, rejecting the council's allegations that the parody website breaches the NSW Fair Trading Act and Commonwealth copyright law, and declining to make the requested changes.

"We do not believe our website is in breach of any law, and we have informed the Minerals Council of that", said Steve Phillips of Rising Tide.

"The NSW Minerals Council has attempted to stifle legitimate dissent on an issue of growing public importance, but appears now to have backed down and accepted our right to protest the disgraceful impacts of the NSW coal mining industry.

"Coal mining has irreversible impacts on local and regional environments and communities in NSW, and is far and away the state's biggest contribution to climate change", Phillips added.

Rising Tide Newcastle is campaigning against plans to more than double coal exports from Newcastle Harbour, the world's biggest coal port. If the plans are approved by the newly re-elected Labor government, the greenhouse emissions from Newcastle coal exports will rival Australia's total domestic greenhouse pollution from all sources. The plans have the backing of both major parties.

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