Scientist and entrepreneur Sir Ray Avery will have to go to the district court if he wants to pursue his complaint about media website Newsroom any further.
Sir Ray complained to Netsafe under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, regarding five articles Newsroom had published about fundraising he was doing for his LifePod inventions, and about his other past products.
He said the articles caused him severe emotional distress and amounted to harassment and digital harm under the Act.
Newsroom has refused to take the articles down.
Netsafe Director Martin Cocker said there isn't anything more Netsafe can do through mediation.
"As soon as one party says, you know they're not prepared to engage in the process, then that's a pretty strong sign that it's time for Netsafe to conclude its process."
That mediation process is a mandatory first step under the Act, and most Harmful Digital Communications Act complaints are sorted at this point.
However Mr Cocker said the main thing they do to get resolution, is to advise parties on what the likely legal ramifications are of different actions that they might take.
In this case, Mr Cocker said, there is not clarity in the Act about how these particular cases should be handled.
"It is for the court to set that precedent, so our recommendation is that has to happen," he said.
Mr Cocker said if they did not feel they could progress the case, their advice was to consider taking it to the district court. But he said that was "entirely optional" for the complainant.
By Gia Garrick