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Judge Lifts Suspension Order On Internet Mag

24 January 2001

Judge Lifts Suspension Order, Allowing New Internet Magazine Back Onto Newsstands

Result seen as a win for consumers and the magazine industry

Consumers and the magazine industry are big winners from a court decision today in the battle between rival internet publications.

The start-up internet magazine is back in business after an interim injunction application by a rival threatened to halt its publication or force radical changes to its format and content.

"We were naturally concerned to get our magazine back onto newsstands, but we'd have been more disturbed for consumers and the industry as a whole if we'd been forced to back down on the major issues at stake in this case," says Martin Taylor, managing director of Net Magazine publisher IDG Communications.

IDG Communications stood its ground against some very aggressive tactics, he says. It successfully defended its right to continue publishing the magazine with exactly the same format, style and content as it launched with last month. The magazine will be back on newstands February 13 under the amended title "Internet" magazine, retaining its handy, attractive A5 format and delivering the kind of information that proved such a hit with readers of its first issue in December.

"We've had scores of emails from readers all around the country who love the magazine and appreciate what we're doing," says Taylor. He puts this down to its lively, easy-to-read style and strong emphasis on helpful tips and advice that normal people can understand and use.

"We'll be complying with the Court's instruction that we expand the abbreviation "Net" in its title to the full word "Internet". We strongly believe the names "Net" and "NetGuide" are distinct and different, but we're happy to comply in the meantime pending further consideration. Our readers might even get to like it," says Taylor.

In ordering the specific amendment that he has, and ruling out NetGuide's application for much more radical changes, Justice Fisher has acted reasonably in the limited circumstances of an interim injunction hearing, says Taylor.

"We are relieved that his ruling has preserved our right to publish a high quality, glossy magazine in the less widely-used but international standard A5 size, and that we can choose the sorts of stories we run and their layout without interference."

Taylor says IDG's position has been that the original claim by NetGuide that newsstand purchasers were confused was dramatically exaggerated.

"Net Magazine has sold extremely well and our position continues to be that this wasn't at NetGuide's expense as claimed. Preliminary sales data show clearly that the entry of Net Magazine has nearly doubled the size of this market." Taylor estimates first issue sales comfortably exceeding 15,000 copies, instantly propelling the new magazine into the top 50 sellers among New Zealand magazines.

IDG and its lawyers have yet to review the detail of the judgement to decide whether to take the matter further. "Right now, we're pleased to have it behind us and to be back in business as usual," says Taylor.


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