He’s been given permission to appeal it to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The ruling will “probably turn out to be round one of the battle between Vancouver businessman and ex-Green Party of Canada official Wayne Crookes, and those of us who believe freedom of speech online is a right, not a privilege”, I posted in p2pnet last year, going on >>>
I’ve been congratulated as though I had something to do with the ruling. But course, I was just an innocent, Kelleher has decided, spectator. The person who deserves the praise and kudos, and all of the credit, is Dan Burnett, the Vancouver lawyer who acted for me, and who’s also looking after some of the other people Crookes is attacking.
I, Michael Geist, Google, Wikimedia, Pbwiki, Yahoo, MySpace, Openpolitics.ca, Domains by Proxy, Michael Pilling, Hayley Easto, Kate Holloway, Craig Hubley, Frank Cameron, Catharine Johannson, Gareth White and anonymous persons were all sued by Crookes.
The difference was: my case was the only one in which illegal linking, as Crookes would like to see it become, was the charge.
And it’ll certainly have repercussions much further afield.
Hyper-linking is what the net is all about. Without it, the Internet would become a drab and pale facsimile of the exciting news, data and information medium it is today.
Instead, each item would be isolated from every other item, and online defamation lawsuits aimed at anyone and everyone with a web site would instantly become commonplace.
“The issue of whether merely hyperlinking creates defamation liability is important but few people would sue over a mere hyperlink”, says Burnett.
“By granting leave to appeal, I am optimistic the Supreme Court is signalling that it is interested in the bigger question of how far liability extends on the internet. If so, it will be grappling with the most important question in the law of internet defamation.”
David Fewer, director of the CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic), says he expects the clinic to intervene as a friend to the court.
“We don’t expect Crookes to win”, he told me, going on >>>
In my view, the legal community interested in this case by and large agrees that the BCSC and BCCA decisions got it right: mere hyperlinking alone does not amount to a republication importing liability.
I’d also argue that the minority in at the BCCA was too strict in drawing an “inference of publication” of the defamatory material in your publication of the link. To hold otherwise, on either point, would have a profoundly chilling effect on speech.
The Internet works through links – in this case, to allow liability as well as information to flow through those links would be to undermine the internet’s promise as a communication medium.
UPDATE: Also see Wayne Crookes wants to freeze the net
Jon Newton – p2pnet
..… and identi.ca
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