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U.S. Judge Rules Canadian Court Order “Threatens Free Speech on the Global Internet”

A U.S. federal court has issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of a Canadian court order requiring Google to remove search results on a global basis. Google filed suit in U.S. court in the aftermath of a Supreme Court of Canada decision upholding a B.C. court’s global takedown order. The Supreme Court decision noted that it was open to Google to raise potential conflict of laws with the B.C. court in the hopes of varying the order:

If Google has evidence that complying with such an injunction would require it to violate the laws of another jurisdiction, including interfering with freedom of expression, it is always free to apply to the British Columbia courts to vary the interlocutory order accordingly.

Google’s action in the U.S. starts down toward that path. It argued that “the Canadian order is ‘unenforceable in the United States because it directly conflicts with the First Amendment, disregards the Communication Decency Act’s immunity for interactive service providers, and violates principles of international comity.’” The court focused on the CDA immunity argument, noting that its protections would be lost as a result of the Canadian court order.  In doing so, the court concluded that the order “threatens free speech on the global internet.”

Equustek did not participate in the hearing, apparently arguing in a side letter that it was “unnecessary and unfair.” Google is now likely to seek a permanent injunction blocking the Canadian ruling from being enforced in the United States. As I noted several months ago, the U.S. case is precisely what critics of the Supreme Court ruling feared with the prospect of conflicting rulings, protracted litigation, and legal uncertainty becoming a reality. By upholding global takedowns without fully grappling with the implications, the Supreme Court effectively invited other courts to issue conflicting decisions without guidance on how to best resolve the issue.

32 Comments

  1. I notice the US court was interested in “can”, while the Canadian courts were more interested in “does”.

    I suspect the SCC knew _exactly_ what they were saying (;-))

    –dave
    [I actually agree with Google, but regarded the Canadian decision as a cautious and narrow one, a probe into an interesting old unsolved problem that’s come back to bite us once again]

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  19. We are living in London Ontario now, we moved here in September 2 months ago, this Outlaw Biker in this news article here approached us down the street from where we live just before he was aressted for murder for hire here in London. He was wearing his full patch Outlaws jacket and he came up to my wife and I about 6 feet from us and stared at us without saying anything, he just stared at us for a long while. We didn’t know what he wanted from us, we though he was just trying to intimidate us or something and then we seen on the London news that he was arrested about a week after approaching us by the OPP for murder for hire. What do you think we should do now?

    • Join them, it’s your only option, you and your wife become full patch members of the Outlaws.

      I think they give you the jackets with the patches but you have to get your own motorbikes.

  20. THE FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL LIBERALS ARE SO CORRUPT

    We are living in London Ontario now, we moved here in September 2 months ago, this Outlaw Biker in this news article here approached us down the street from where we live just before he was arrested for murder for hire here in London. He was wearing his full patch Outlaws jacket and he came up to my wife and I about 6 feet from us and stared at us without saying anything, he just stared at us for a long while. We didn’t know what he wanted from us, we thought he was just trying to intimidate us or something and then we seen on the London news that he was arrested about a week after approaching us by the OPP for murder for hire. What do you think we should do now?

  21. If one searches google.ca for obvious piracy terms, you’ll notice a message at the bottom of the results noting that results have been removed under US DMCA. How is application of US law against the Canadian results any different than Canadian law being applied to US results?

    • I found that very odd myself. Even more odd that Geist is so pro-google.
      But I did some research on the net and found some interesting facts about Mr. Geist.
      Go to Google, type into the search:
      Geist is More than Unbalanced on Copyright
      Decide for yourself.
      Cheers

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  27. And not for the first time the courts are shown to be lacking in understanding the fundamental nature of the Internet and the way laws need to adapt to its realities.

    You can’t actually block the Internet, China has a giant firewall and police state but I guarantee you there are plenty of people there who have the whole Internet.

    Courts might as well be trying to tell mosquitoes who they can’t bite.

  28. On the off chance that one looks google.ca for clear robbery terms, you’ll see a message at the base of the outcomes taking note of that outcomes have been expelled under US DMCA. How is use of US law against the Canadian outcomes any not the same as Canadian law being connected to US comes about?

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