Once again the outspoken Alan Brown is making news -- but this time for
a rather unexpected reason.
He's NOT talking about the tiff between himself and Domainz CEO Patrick O'Brien.
The normally efusive Brown now responds to all requests for comment on the
issues between himself and O'Brien with a curt "no comment."
What has caused this dramatic about-face in Brown's behaviour?
Well the gagging order obtained against him in court in an action indirectly
funded by ISOCNZ through Domainz could be one reason.
Despite their ongoing rhetoric extolling the importance of the Internet as an
organ of free speech, it seems that ISOCNZ is unwilling to put its money
where its mouth is when it actually comes down to the line and continue
to fund O'Brien's legal action.
I also wonder at the justness, let alone the legality of a court order which
allegedly prohibits Brown from making any comment about O'Brien through the
If the grounds for obtaining such an order were harrassment then surely it's
a ridiculous situation. The closest analogy might be for the courts to forbid
Brown from talking about O'Brien in any public place for fear that his conversation
is overheard by the aggrieved party -- should he happen to walk by.
Come on -- the Internet is a big place -- if you don't like what someone might
say about you then stay out of their way. If you fear that those comments might
be defamatory -- then sue them (Oh.. I forgot, that's what O'Brien has done already).
It strikes me that by forbidding anyone to voice their opinion of someone else
on the Internet, the courts are infringing one of the basic rights of a
free and democratic society -- free speech.
Of course once again the courts have shown their inability to comprehend the
scope and power of the Internet in issuing such an order. What happens
if someone posts a comment about O'Brien to the Internet using Brown's name?
How could they prove that it was Brown?
What if Brown posts an unsigned comment to the Net using an anonymiser? Again,
how could they prove who was the real poster?
Now, I'm no legal expert (nor do I play one on the Internet) and I've had no
time to solicit a legal opinion this morning so perhaps someone with the
right credentials could let us all know what the situation is in respect to
a Net-based gagging order.
And those readers who aren't lawyers can always voice their "opinions"
on the situation (for publication here if requested).
Government Policies Sink Another Good Idea?
Most Aardvark readers will have seen that with what very little spare time
I get, I have been dabbling with the design and construction of low-cost
While I do have a longer-term commercial objective for this work, I thought
I'd sound out the waters to see just what sort of interest their might be
out there for "engine kitsets" that would allow others to build their own
engines even if they don't have the skills or tools normally required
for such work.
So far, in just a couple of weeks, I have received inquiries that could be
turned into around US$3,000 worth of orders -- and that's just by putting
a "contact me if you're interested" request on the website -- hardly a
heavy marketing campaign.
Virtually all of those orders have come from the USA, not a single one
has been from New Zealand.
With a more effective (but still low-cost, Net-based) marketing campaign I
have no doubt that sales in the order of US$20K-$40K per month could be
Okay, this isn't the kind of stuff that huge aerospace empires are built on --
but it's the kind of work that a small one or two-man band could easily
undertake from a home-workshop and which would generate valuable overseas
earnings of as much as a half a million US$ per year.
And, despite the fact that the end-product is a collection of metal components,
it is a knowledge-based industry insomuch as it's not the metal that has value
but the design to which that metal is turned and milled. By designing the
engine parts for easy manufacture and shipping, the profit margins are extremely
high and the freight costs to the USA surprisingly low.
The low Kiwi dollar and a bit of "smart thinking" has made this a viable little
back-yard business with the potential to expand into other areas.
Because of the pressure of my other commitments, I'm not about to change careers
and get into the manufacture of jet engines at this point in time -- but I
believe there are probably thousands of similar would-be businesses out there
which, given the right encouragement and incentives, could make a huge
difference to this country's economic position and trade deficit.
Maybe if the current economic climate in NZ were different I'd actually invest
the money required to set up a small manufacturing operation for these engines
and give another Kiwi couple of Kiwis a job -- but until our politicians
come to their senses I'm not about to pay more penalty tax on the R&D
that is required to ensure the longevity of such a business.
As always, your feedback is welcomed.