Title: Assange, WikiLeaks, and the liability of wiki providers for third party content

Authors: Richard I. Copp

Addresses: Griffith Business School, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd., Nathan, 4111, Australia

Abstract: The uploading of US diplomatic cables onto the WikiLeaks' wiki website has sparked widespread outrage. After more than a year, US authorities are reportedly still considering whether they can prosecute WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. This paper investigates prosecution grounds under US and Australian Federal law. There is a possible case for both Assange and Wikileaks to answer in the USA, but the proof stakes are high. This may account for the delay in the US authorities commencing any proceedings to date. There appear to be no serious grounds for prosecution under Australian Federal law. The analysis has important implications for IT law. Wiki providers would appear not to be liable for publishing on their wikis defamatory or other material that does not clearly threaten national security. Nevertheless, a prudent wiki provider would monitor and remove very sensitive information.

Keywords: WikiLeaks; Julian Assange; wikis; information technology law; First Amendment; terrorism; defamation; USA; United States; Australia; federal law; grounds for prosecution; wiki providers; liability; defamatory material; national security; sensitive information.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTPL.2012.050218

International Journal of Technology Policy and Law, 2012 Vol.1 No.2, pp.152 - 167

Published online: 05 Nov 2012 *

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