Ask Colin

Why can't you publish your market comment columns immediately on your subscription web site, instead of leaving them until three months after publication?

You will understand that Fairfax pay me to write articles and columns. They then make a profit by selling the magazines and newsletters that I write for. If they were available at the same time on my web site, it would defeat the purpose of them paying me.

My agreement with them is that I can publish them on my web site three months after publication. I think this is very generous of them. While I own the copyright and could assert my right to publish them earlier, the result would be that I would cease to get work from them.

The whole purpose of my web site and everything else I do is education. The subscription web site contains a nearly complete book on technical analysis, a mini course on stock selection, numerous educational articles and columns that serve as case studies. I think it is a bargain.

As well as educational articles, I write columns that contain comment on current markets and stocks. These are written as a journalist and do not constitute advice to any individual. I see them as valuable case studies in my methods and as a published record of my methods. Even if Fairfax did not impose a 3 months delay on publication, I would not publish them earlier, because the law is currently vague as to whether my web site would be seen as media as defined in the act (they would have to be on the free access site - the subscription site is clearly not media as defined in the act). One could argue that they have already been, and remain, accessible in the media, but this has yet to be clarified by the ASIC.

Even when I am able to clarify these matters of law, and if Fairfax agreed, I doubt that I will publish the market comment columns contemporaneously with their media publication for the simple reason that the whole thrust of my business and web site is education, not advice. I want to teach people to invest and trade, not advise them what securities to buy and sell and when.

The Subscription web site home page has been revised to reflect the situation now Shares Weekly has closed. Starting 23 January 2003, I will be writing a weekly market comment column in BRW that in part replaces the columns previously published in Shares and Shares Weekly.