In March 2001, E-Silkroad Holdings Limited issued a writ for cyber libel in the High Court of Hong Kong against chat room IceRed.com Limited. E-Silkroad Holdings is an online trade-show services provider. IceRed.com is a popular Hong Kong Internet chat site used by many young professionals as a forum to discuss work and social issues.
E-Silkroad claimed in its writ that approximately one dozen libellous messages appeared on IceRed.com's web-site between October last year and March this year when E-Silkroad listed on the Growth Enterprise Market. Along with a demand for compensation, E-Silkroad has asked the High Court to force IceRed to reveal the names, addresses, email addresses and Internet Protocol addresses of the users who had sent the alleged libellous messages. IceRed.com has claimed that as the postings were not made by registered users, it did not have the names, addresses and e-mail addresses requested. However, the court has granted E-Silkroad an interim order requesting IceRed.com to release the IP address of the IceRed.com user who posted the libellous messages. This is the first time an order requesting the disclosure of IP addresses has been granted in Hong Kong.
It is also the first time IceRed.com has released personal information on its users, many of whom use the site as a forum to anonymously voice controversial opinions. The issue that now remains to be determined is whether IceRed.com could be held liable for postings made by its users.
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