E-mail sharing banned by law in australia?

G’day! I got this by email. I tried to verify it at Snopes but didn’t find anything there. Is it true? If so, it sounds like a bad law to me. What do you think, mates?


Forwarding e-mail to friends, family or colleagues without
permission from the sender is now illegal in Australia, thanks to
a new law that took effect yesterday. Penalties for violation
could be as much as five years’ jail time or fines of AU$60,000
(US$31,400). The motivation behind the law is copyright
protection for the sender of the original e-mail. But in addition
to material that already has copyright protection, such as
excerpts from books or song lyrics, the new measure also affects
personal messages. “It’s quite possible that the forwarding of an
e-mail could be a technical infringement of copyright,” says a
legal advisor for Australia’s attorney general. “E-mailing
something is a ‘communication’ under the Digital Agenda Act and
so is putting something up on a Web site.” This new
interpretation means a simple e-mail about office gossip or
holiday plans also carries personal copyright protection. It is
estimated that 5 million or more e-mail messages are forwarded
around Australia every day.
(The Sunday Telegraph 4 Mar 2001)

It was denied by Daryl Williams (the A-G).

The original story:

The follow-up story denying it:

And the Australian Attorney General’s press release:


A little research does wonders… :wink:

Sometimes I wish ALL email forwarding WAS illegal, since begging and pleading my mother not to fill my inbox with an unrelenting deluge of of nonsense and tripe hasn’t worked.

Please, Mom, please. . .If I get one more message that starts, “Only a person without a heart won’t forward this to at least 10 people. . .”

This site is as good as Snopes for listing common hoaxes and chain letters:


Hoaxbusters is great. It’s my lunatic mom who won’t READ Hoaxbusters that’s the problem. She sweet and wonderful, and I love her, but giving her email is like putting a weasel in charge of a semi-truck. Digitally speaking.

But this is WAY off topic.