There are several reports (here, here, and here) that Wayne Crookes, who previously launched suits against a wide range of parties including Wikipedia, Yahoo, and a domain name registrar, has sued me in B.C. courts for defamation. I have not been served with the suit, but the reports indicate that […]
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Wayne Crookes has responded to this week's column on his lawsuits in a letter to the editor.
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the defamation lawsuits launched in British Columbia by Wayne Crookes against a who's who of the Internet, including Yahoo!, MySpace, and Wikipedia. Those companies are accused of defaming Crookes not by virtue of anything they have said, but rather by permitting their users to post or link to articles that are allegedly defamatory.
The lawsuits could prove to be critically important to the Internet in Canada, because they cast the net of liability far wider than just the initial posters. Indeed, the lawsuits seek to hold accountable sites and services that host the articles, feature comments about the articles, include hyperlinks to the articles, fail to actively monitor their content to ensure that allegedly defamatory articles are not reposted after being removed, and even those that implement the domain name registrations of sites that host the articles.
The common link with all of these targets is that none are directly responsible for alleged defamation. Rather, the Crookes lawsuits maintain that Internet intermediaries should be held equally responsible for such content.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 30, 2007 as Lawsuits Put Online Free Speech At Risk Despite garnering only limited media attention, two recently filed defamation lawsuits in British Columbia have the potential to reshape free speech on the Internet in Canada. The suits pit Wayne Crookes, a B.C.-based […]