Key Points:

Solid Energy is fighting a court battle to force the Save Happy Valley Coalition to stop parodying it in a mock annual report full of the environmental group's own views of its coal mining activities.

Counsel for Solid Energy, Hugh Rennie QC, put its case to Justice Lester Chisholm in the High Court at Christchurch.

It is seeking five orders as part of an interim injunction application which would stop the group publishing - including the link to the report on its website - material that it says infringes its trade marks and copyright.

The application names as first defendant Christchurch woman Frances Mountier who is sometimes media spokesman for the coalition. In affidavits to the court she acknowledged she was the author and publisher of the material.

Further orders are also sought against Simon Oosterman, of Auckland, the website webmaster. Mr Rennie said Mr Oosterman had agreed he would implement the court's findings.

Mr Rennie said Solid Energy was required to defend its trademark at the first breach.

He told the court: "The practical effect of these orders will be that, if granted, the first defendant and the others with them would still be able to go on expressing themselves as extensively as they ever have, with the exception that they cannot describe the document as being our document and they can't use our trademarks and copyrights."

He rejected Justice Chisholm's suggestion that it was a "spoof".

"The website says to click this link, and you will get this report. It says it is an honest and accurate document. It doesn't say it's a spoof. It doesn't meet the definition of a parody or spoof. It purports to be a document that they say the plaintiff should have published."

Quentin Davies, counsel for Ms Mountier, said it was "a free speech case" concerning his client's civil and political rights. If possible, the Copyright Act, Trademarks Act and Defamation Act, had to be given a meaning consistent with the rights to freedom of expression under section 14 of the New Zealand Bill or Rights Act.

He said the document could be immediately identified as a parody. It could be downloaded from the Save Happy Valley website. The graphic on the cover of the document would raise suspicions that it was not an official document and this would be immediately confirmed when one read the second page of the document.

"Any paragraph of the document taken in isolation will be taken by the ordinary reader to be a spoof. Authorship is clearly claimed on the final page of the document," he said.

- NZPA