Site Supposedly Sued For Just Linking To A Story That Potentially Libels Someone

from the oh-come-on dept

On Friday, we wrote about a guy who worked for the Green Party in Canada who was suing a whole bunch of sites, claiming libel. The problem was that he was suing sites like Google and Wikipedia for what its users had done — rather than the users themselves. In our comments, people pointed out that he’s apparently also sued Yahoo, MySpace and PBWiki (though, we haven’t seen anything to back that up Update: I’ve now seen the documents showing the claims against Yahoo and MySpace). The original story about this was in The Globe and Mail, though plenty of other sources picked up on it as well. One was the site, where Jon Newton wrote up a blog post about the lawsuits… and 15 minutes later was sued himself. Yikes. Newton notes that the only thing he did in his post was link to the potentially libelous post, which hardly seems worthy of getting sued yourself. Reporting on a libel suit doesn’t seem like it should make you liable for libel as well. Once again, all this is really doing is getting a lot more attention focused on this guy rather than hiding his critics. It’s difficult to see how that’s helpful.

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Comments on “Site Supposedly Sued For Just Linking To A Story That Potentially Libels Someone”

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jon says:

I don’t know about Canada, but here in the US that wouldn’t hold because A) it would have to be malicious, B) is protect speech (reporting a libel case not committing libel), and C) would have to be proven that a person reading the libel would think it was true *and* since it was linked from a story reporting the libel suit a reasonable person would not assume the libelous text is true. At least that is my understanding of the law here — please correct me if I am wrong.

The US isn’t perfect, but it got quite a few things right.

Brett says:


Am I missing something, or is this clearly BS. It does not seem believable to me that they served this guy lawsuit papers 15 minutes after he posted the offending content. One can’t get a pizza delivered that fast. It would take much longer than that to: notice the article, prepare the papers, let alone have them delivered.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: BS

Have to agree there. The guy says on hsi own site;
“Literally 15 minutes…”
then goes on to say;
“..and since it’s Saturday, I’ll have to wait until Monday before I’ll be able to do anything about this new suit.”

So this guy LITERALLY got served 15 minutes later…on a Saturday? Right.
Either he doesn’t know the meaning of ‘literally’, is lieing, or this suit is from something else.

Come on!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: BS

So this guy LITERALLY got served 15 minutes later…on a Saturday? Right. Either he doesn’t know the meaning of ‘literally’, is lieing, or this suit is from something else.

or…you should think twice before commenting…nobody (including the guy) is claiming he got sued for what he posted 15 minutes prior to being served…

In fact, 15 minutes would be amazing any day of the week….in 15 minutes, the politician read the article, drummed up his lawyer, had him file the petition, had it processed and served to the guy…that would be truly amazing…just a few thoughts that might (should) have gone through your head before you make a fool of yourself

Come on!

Fred Flint says:

It's Not What You Think!

Jon got “served” 15 minutes later. That means the lawsuit must have been in motion for quite some time and that just happens to be the time he got “served”, not “sued”.

Even in Canada, you can’t get “sued” in 15 minutes. The lawyers wouldn’t make enough money on the paperwork, photocopying, telephone calls to their mothers and/or girlfriends/boyfriends/goats/sheep, whatever.

You can now forget about this lawsuit for many years while all the lawyers pad their bills.

Oh yes, the results of lawsuits in Canada are usually a bit different from the results of lawsuits in the U.S. Even if this jackass wins, it wouldn’t be unusual for the jury to award $1.50 or some other appropriately small amount.

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