p2pnet news view Freedom | P2P:- I’m proud to say that, thanks wholly to the expertise of Vancouver lawyer Dan Burnett, p2pnet is now part of precedent-setting legal decision of primary importance to online freedom of speech in Canada.
Following a landmark decision by British Columbia Supreme Court judge Stephen Kelleher, p2pnet is the victor in a case in which Vancouver businessmen Wayne Crookes, once an important federal Green Party of Canada official, tried to claim I defamed him by linking to articles he didn’t like.
That amounted to publication, he maintained.
Shortly after the case was heard in Vancouver this August, “I headed this post Wayne Crookes v p2pnet,” I said, going on, “But maybe I should have called it Wayne Crookes v Ted Nelson because it includes a number of words and phrases highlighted and underlined in blue.”
They’re links, the “genius” of the Net, I said, continuing »»»
That’s how well-known Canadian media lawyer Dan Burnett, who’s defending me against defamation charges brought by Vancouver businessman and ex-Green Party of Canada financier Wayne Crookes, describes them.
He [Crookes] wants the Net frozen.
Here’s another comment from Burnett in another defamation case in which he’s also acting for me:
For all the lofty quotes about free speech in Canadian jurisprudence, the reality is that our libel laws are the least protective of free speech in the English speaking world.
Crookes claims I defamed him when I linked to sites containing articles which, well, defamed him, he says.
If he wins, it’ll be quite literally the end of online freedom of speech in Canada.
But he didn’t win.
“According to Mr. Newton, he is not interested in the Green Party issues,” writes Kelleher in his decision to dismiss the lawsuit, going on:
“Rather, his interest is in free speech and the internet. He posted a reference to the existence of the lawsuit and its implications for free speech on the internet. There was no comment about Mr. Crookes’ character or integrity.”
The issue was whether or not anyone followed the hyperlinks posted on p2pnet, he said, continuing »»»
Without proof that persons other than the plaintiff visited the defendant`s website, clicked on the hyperlinks, and read the articles complained of, there cannot be a finding of publication.
However, warned Kelleher, “I do not wish to be misunderstood. It is not my decision that hyperlinking can never make a person liable for the contents of the remote site.
“For example, if Mr. Newton had written ‘the truth about Wayne Crookes is found here’ and ‘here’ is hyperlinked to the specific defamatory words, this might lead to a different conclusion.”
Will Crookes appeal?
Please click here for the full decision.
In the meanwhile, definitely stay tuned.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
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