Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Canadian Court Realizes Online Jurisdiction Case Has Nothing To Do With Canada

from the oh-Canada! dept

Earlier this year we wrote about yet another internet jurisdiction case. These cases are showing up quite frequently, unfortunately -- and it's likely that they're going to keep showing up. The problem is that the internet can be viewed from (almost) anywhere, but whose laws apply to the content? If content is posted in the US for a US audience, but is viewed in Canada, can Canadians sue? Some courts, such as those in Australia have said yes. That can lead to "jurisdiction shopping," as in a similar case in the UK, where a Saudi Arabian business man sued the Wall Street Journal for libel -- but did so in the UK, knowing they had stricter libel laws. This was despite the fact that nothing in the story and no one involved had anything to do with the UK. The case we mentioned back in March was somewhat similar, but with a slight twist. In that case, someone had moved to Canada three years after the article was published -- and then decided to sue there. While a lower court had no problem with it, the Ontario Court of Appeals has reversed the ruling, noting that the case has absolutely nothing to do with Canada, and to suggest that someone can be liable for something in a country someone moves to years after publication happens is ridiculous. Of course, that still doesn't clear up the situation of what would have happened if the guy had lived in Canada all along (though, the court looks over some of the issues). Either way, you can bet that we'll still see plenty more of these types of cases, because it doesn't look like the world is going to agree on internet jurisdiction issues any time soon.

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  • identicon
    Bill, 19 Sep 2005 @ 9:48am

    Seems obvious to me

    That local laws can only cover local activites. Go after the users.

    If the content is legal where the server resides, leave it alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nil Einne, 27 Jan 2009 @ 5:11am

    Should point out

    I should point out the reason he was suing is because it was in the archives and he was later cleared and he contacted the WP to have them at least link to a story about him being cleared but they didn't. So it wasn't simply that he was trying to sue for something that happened a long time ago but for something which was happening now and which could easily harm his reputation where he was currently living, i.e. Canada.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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