Yet Another Canadian Internet Jurisdiction Case Muddies The Waters

from the so,-now-we-know-what-exactly? dept

On Monday, we wrote about a case up in Canada about internet jurisdictions. In that case, an Appeals Court reduced a lower court ruling saying that the Washington Post was somehow liable in Canada for the content of an article published in the US on a US server about someone who lived in Africa at the time — but moved to Canada three years later. We noted that this ruling didn’t answer the question of what would happen if the guy had been in Canada all along. Well, it didn’t take long for an answer to come back on that question. A different court is ruling on a different case, this time involving the NY Post, where they were sued for libel over an article about a Canadian hockey general manager. This time, the court ruled that the NY Post is liable. Unfortunately, complicating matters greatly is the fact that the court relied mainly on the lower court ruling about the Washington Post — which (obviously) was just overturned. So, it certainly seems like this ruling can be challenged. Either way, if it stands, it’s still problematic, for a variety of reasons (basically suggesting you couldn’t write about anyone in any country unless you fully understood that country’s libel laws). However, if you hadn’t realized it by now, what’s become quite clear is that any answer to the internet jurisdiction question has problems. It still seems like the most reasonable answer is have jurisdiction be in the country of the publisher and the server — but you could then see some specifically setting up their servers in countries with very lax (or non-existent) libel laws.

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