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    Crookes Appeals B.C. Linking Decision

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    Thursday November 27, 2008
    P2PNet.net reports that Wayne Crookes has appealed a recent B.C. decision that addressed the liability for linking to allegedly defamatory content.
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    B. C. Court Rules Linking To Content Not Republication

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    Monday October 27, 2008
    A B.C. court has ruled that linking to allegedly defamatory content does not amount to a republication of the content.  The case arises from one of the Crookes lawsuits, this one involving both Wikipedia and P2PNet.net [full disclosure: Crookes is suing me with similar claims that include linking to websites that in turn link to allegedly defamatory content].  The court cautioned that a link could conceivably raise defamation claims, but that this would occur where the party posting the link added additional commentary about the underlying link.  In the case of nothing more than a link, the court concluded that:

    Although a hyperlink provides immediate access to material published on another website, this does not amount to republication of the content on the originating site.  This is especially so as a reader may or may not follow the
    hyperlinks provided.

    More discussion on the case at P2Pnet.net.
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    B.C. Court of Appeal Upholds Dismissal of Crookes Cyberlibel Suit

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    Friday May 09, 2008
    The British Columbia Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court decision that dismissed a libel suit launched by Wayne Crookes against Yahoo!, MySpace, and a group of individuals.  The court rejected the view that a court should presume that something posted online on a restricted access site has been widely read by people in the local community.  
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    The Letters of the Law: The Year in Law and Technology from A to Z

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    Sunday December 30, 2007
    Appeared in the Toronto Star on December 24, 2007 as The Year In Canadian Tech Law, A to Z
    Appeared in the Tyee on December 25, 2007 as The Letters of the Law

    The past twelve months marked another remarkable year in law and technology featuring business developments, policy decisions, lawsuits, court rulings, and new legislation that will have a profound long-term impact on the Internet in Canada. From A to Z, there was rarely a dull moment in 2007.

    A is for Access Copyright, the copyright collective that launched a $10 million lawsuit against Staples and the Business Depot over a decidedly old copying technology - photocopiers.

    B is for Breach notification, the much-needed regulation recommended by a House of Commons committee.  If implemented, it would require organizations to publicly disclose instances when consumer personal information is placed at risk due to a security breach.  

    C is for Wayne Crookes, the B.C. businessman and former Green Party organizer who launched Internet libel lawsuits against some of the Internet’s best known companies including Google, Yahoo!, and Wikimedia (and this columnist).

    D is for the Do-Not-Call registry, which was revived by the CRTC with a flurry of new rules and a public call for a registry operator.  Years after Canadian do-not-call legislation was first introduced, the registry is finally expected to begin operations in 2008.

    E is for eBay, which was ordered by the Federal Court of Canada to disclose the identities of hundreds of Canadian Power Sellers to the Canada Revenue Agency.  CRA suspects that some sellers may not be collecting the requisite sales taxes for their online sales.

    F is for Facebook, the popular social media site that boasts eight million Canadian users. The site played a pivotal role in fostering a grassroots movement against U.S.-style copyright reforms.

    G is for GSM, the dominant standard for cellphone providers worldwide.  With only one GSM operator in Canada (Rogers), the government announced new spectrum rules that guaranteed space for new operators in the hopes of fuelling increased competition.

    H is for Hush Communications, the B.C.-based company that was ordered to hand over private emails to U.S. officials investigating online steroid sales.

    I is for the International Music Score Library Project, a popular Canadian website that featured thousands of public domain musical scores. The site was taken down after a European company objected to the availability of the scores outside Canada.

    J is for the Jewish New Year cards Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent to thousands of Canadians.  The cards raised uncomfortable privacy questions about the collection and use of personal information by Canada's political parties.

    K is for Kraft Foods, which lost a key Supreme Court of Canada copyright case involving the importation of chocolate from Europe.  Despite the loss, Kraft re-launched the suit later in the year.   

    L is for Lawful access and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's about-face on the mandatory disclosure of Internet service provider (ISP) customer name and address information.  After facing questions about a secret consultation on the issue, Day pledged not to introduce legislation mandating disclosure without court oversight.

    M is for Movie piracy, which attracted considerable attention after Hollywood studios claimed that Canada is a leading source of pirated movies.  In response, the federal government adopted new anti-camcording legislation in June.

    N is for the NHLPA, which dismissed its Executive Director following revelations that players' private emails were viewed without their knowledge.

    O is for the Open access rules adopted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, one of Canada's leading research granting institutions.  The new rules require researchers to ensure that their work is openly available to the public within six months of publication.

    P is for Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who tackled some of technology's most controversial issues, including the wireless spectrum auction and copyright reform.

    Q is for QuebecTorrent, the Quebec-based "torrent tracker" that was sued by a group of cultural groups on the grounds that the site facilitates copyright infringement.

    R is for Regina, Saskatchewan, one of several cities in the province that benefited from a municipal wireless initiative.  Similar efforts occurred in other cities and towns across the country as communities worked to bridge the digital divide.

    S is for Shaping, the controversial ISP practice that limits the bandwidth allocated to certain applications.  The growing use of traffic shaping by Canadian ISPs led to mounting calls for net neutrality legislation.

    T is for Ticketmaster, which changed its online marketing practices following complaints to the Alberta Privacy Commissioner.

    U is for Union des Consommateurs, the Quebec consumer group that lost a Supreme Court of Canada battle with Dell Computer over the enforceability of Dell's online contract.

    V is for VANOC, the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, which persuaded the federal government to pass special legislation that grants it unique powers to guard against unauthorized use of the Olympic marks.

    W is for U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins, who aggressively called on Canada to reform its intellectual property laws, which he labeled the "weakest in the G7."

    X is for the unknown hacker that attacked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission website, raising concerns about the security of information held by the nation's nuclear watchdog.

    Y is for YouTube, which was ordered to remove a video posted by a disgruntled law firm client.  The Ontario judge ruled that the video would cause the lawyer "significant and irreparable harm" if left for public viewing.

    Z is for Zeke's Gallery, a Montreal art gallery owner and blogger, who was ordered to take down posts from his blog following a cyber-libel suit from a rival gallery.

    Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

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