An Ontario court has ruled that Richard Warman, a prominent human rights lawyer who has launched many complaints about Internet hate, was defamed online in a series of postings. The court noted the effect of instant and possibly global dissemination of defamatory material over the Internet, awarding damages totaling $30,000, […]
Post Tagged with: "cyberlibel"
The National featured a lengthy report on Internet libel last night focusing on the Zeke's Gallery and Crookes' cases. The story, which did an excellent job of highlighting the core issues, has posted by LibelChill.ca on YouTube. I'm featured in the piece and wrote about these concerns earlier this year.
Wendy Grossman and Mathew Ingram both focus on blogging and defamation, with discussion of Crookes, Zeke's Gallery, and other Canadian incidents.
The number of Canadian lawsuits arising from blog postings is on the rise – the Montreal Gazette covers a mushrooming defamation lawsuit launched against Zeke's Gallery, a Montreal art gallery who maintains a blog, while the Ottawa Citizen has coverage of Steelback Brewery's Frank D'Angelo's suit against an Ottawa blogger.
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.