Post Tagged with: "defamation"

Supreme Court Stands Up for the Internet

Appeared in the Toronto Star on October 23, 2011 as Supreme Court Stands Up for the Internet The Supreme Court of Canada last week issued its much anticipated ruling on the potential liability for linking to allegedly defamatory content on the Internet. The court provided a huge win for the […]

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October 24, 2011 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Supreme Court of Canada Stands Up for the Internet: No Liability for Linking

The Supreme Court of Canada today issued its much anticipated ruling in Crookes v. Newton, a case that focused on the issue of liability for linking to allegedly defamatory content. The court provided a huge win for the Internet as it clearly understood the significance of linking to freedom of expression and the way the Internet functions by ruling that there is no liability for a mere hyperlink. The key quote from the majority, written by Justice Abella:

I would conclude that a hyperlink, by itself, should never be seen as “publication” of the content to which it refers.

This is an enormous win for the Internet since it rightly recognizes that links are just digital references that should not be viewed as republication of the underlying content. As Abella states:

Hyperlinks are, in essence, references.  By clicking on the link, readers are directed to other sources.  Hyperlinks may be inserted with or without the knowledge of the operator of the site containing the secondary article.  Because the content of the secondary article is often produced by someone other than the person who inserted the hyperlink in the primary article, the content on the other end of the link can be changed at any time by whoever controls the secondary page.  Although the primary author controls whether there is a hyperlink and what article that word or phrase is linked to, inserting a hyperlink gives the primary author no control over the content in the secondary article to which he or she has linked.

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October 19, 2011 30 comments News

Conrad Black Case Targets Net Defamation Jurisdiction Standard

Conrad Black’s ongoing legal fight in the United States has attracted considerable attention in Canada, yet my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) there is a side courtroom battle at home over alleged defamatory content on the Internet that merits closer attention.  The case, named Black v. Breeden, involves postings such as press releases and reports on the Hollinger International, Inc. website that Black claims were defamatory.  Several Ontario media organizations published the allegations contained in those releases.

When Black sued the company’s directors, advisers, and one company employee for defamation, the defendants in the case brought a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, arguing that Ontario was not the appropriate venue for the case since both Hollinger and Black are located in the U.S.  After a judge dismissed the motion, the defendants appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous decision this month, the appellate court upheld the ruling by the motions judge, concluding that Ontario was a suitable venue and that the defamation case could proceed.

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August 30, 2010 14 comments Columns

Conrad Black Case Targets Net Defamation Jurisdiction Standards

Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 30, 2010 as Conrad Black Case Targets Net Defamation Standards Conrad Black’s ongoing legal fight in the United States has attracted considerable attention in Canada, yet there is a side courtroom battle at home over alleged defamatory content on the Internet that merits […]

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August 30, 2010 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Supreme Court Grants Leave In Defamation Linking Case

The Supreme Court of Canada today granted leave to appeal in the Crookes v. Newton case, which involves alleged online defamation and the liability for linking to a defamatory article. Update: Coverage from Canwest on the implications of the case.

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April 1, 2010 3 comments Must Reads