Aust Stock Exchange clamps down on Web site use

The Australian Stock Exchange has reminded third-party intermediaries who are on-selling information from its free Web-site rather than paying for a commercial service that their arrangement ends in a few weeks.The ASX today posted a warning on its open-access Web site stating that people accessing the company announcements section of the site will, from 1 August, be required to confirm that they are a retail investor using the information for personal rather than commercial purposes.

The Australian Stock Exchange has reminded third-party intermediaries who are on-selling information from its free Web-site rather than paying for a commercial service that their arrangement ends in a few weeks.

The ASX today posted a warning on its open-access Web site stating that people accessing the company announcements section of the site will, from 1 August, be required to confirm that they are a retail investor using the information for personal rather than commercial purposes.

In a window opened automatically as a user accesses individual announcements, the ASX states the move will "ensure that announcements continue to be provided free of charge at www.asx.com.au for the general public".

An ASX spokesperson told ZDNet Australia   the move was also designed to protect the business and the interests of those intermediaries -- which include banks, stockbrokers and media organisations -- who do pay to use and on-sell an ASX commercial service.

The spokesperson said a few intermediaries had been allowed, following the wind-down a few months ago of some older products, to use the ASX Web site in the supply of commercial services to clients. However, the advisory was a reminder that that arrangement was concluding.

The warning indicates the ASX may adopt a firm stance post-1 August against any intermediaries who do not adhere to the terms and conditions governing use of the site. Those terms and conditions stipulate that a user may view the site and save an electronic copy "solely for your own personal use, information, reach or study".

The terms and conditions also include the statements "under no circumstances may the content be used to establish, maintain or provide, or assist in establishing, maintaining or providing a stock market for trading in securities.

"You must not use the content for commercial purposes without first obtaining the express written authority of [the] ASX".

The ASX said in February it had earned AU$14.6 million in revenue from market data for the six months ended 31 December 2003.

It said it had lost revenue, but also reduced costs, from the decommissioning of old infrastructure associated with both Signal G and IDS products.

However, the ASX added that this revenue loss had been offset by the development and marketing of new products such as ASX ComNews, which was enabled by the electronic lodgement of listed company announcements combined with a "reconstructed dissemination platform".