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Online chatrooms in court battle

Nighthawk Energy, an AIM listed company, has today revealed a successful court battle against chatroom companies ADVFN and iii to force the companies to divulge the identity of certain individuals posting alleged "damaging information" online. The company believes it has been the victim of unscrupulous rumours which may or may not have damaged the reputation of Nighthawk Energy. So what does the court ruling actually mean?

The company is now free to take the individuals in question to court and potentially sue them for alleged defamation. This is not the first time there has been friction between online companies, the UK stock market and individuals on chat rooms although it will be interesting to see how far the company pursues this claim. Whether this will act as a deterrent for those looking to post potentially misleading or untrue information in the future remains to be seen.

While various contributors to the websites in question obviously protect their real identity via "nicknames" it is possible to trace the underlying individual via their IP addresses. It is believed there are other companies looking to potentially take action against such postings on the Internet and the case with Nighthawk Energy could open the floodgates.

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