Blogger Sued, In Part, For Linking To Material Claimed To Be Defamatory

from the link-it-up dept

We've pointed in the past to some rather ridiculous situations in Canada concerning libel law. One key case involved a guy named Wayne Crookes, who not only sued major internet sites like Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia and MySpace for hosting content he believed to be defamatory towards himself, but he also sued Jon Newton of the site for merely linking to the content Crookes believed to be defamatory. A court in Canada eventually ruled that merely linking to potentially defamatory material is not defamation, and an appeals court agreed. Last I heard, the case had moved up to the Canadian Supreme Court. That case is still ongoing, but it looks like there may be a similar case brewing as well.

Reader JC points us to a short blogpost about another Canadian, named Richard Warman (interestingly, both Warman and Crookes have ties to the Canadian Green Party, though, I'm going to say that's likely a coincidence), who apparently is suing some bloggers for (in part) linking to material he finds defamatory. Unfortunately, in all the sites talking about this, no one seems to be willing to state the full story of the lawsuit, or show the full filing. Instead, they just show parts of the filing. But, at least in that part, it does appear that one of the complaints is that the blog in question linked to a site that Warman believed to be defamatory. It's unclear what else is involved in the lawsuit (and if anyone has the details, please pass them along in the comments). However, just the snippet provided is troubling enough.

Even if the content in question was totally defamatory, it certainly raises some pretty serious questions about whether merely linking to content itself can or should be seen as defamatory as well. As noted in the Newton/Crookes case, so far, Canadian courts have been rejecting such claims, and hopefully that holds up with the Supreme Court ruling. But in the meantime, it certainly sounds like others are still making similar claims, which certainly feel like efforts to stifle freedom of expression.

Filed Under: canada, free speech, libel, linking, richard warman

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2010 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Semi-Related Question

    A clearer answer to your question is the obvious "yes".

    It might be worth considering what information techdirt could/would hand over ; even for anonymous comments techdirt records IP addresses of contributers and can link comments from the same source.

    If that scares you then techdirt is probably not a good place to spill your info' - you might be better of with a more dedicated and rigorous news site such as Wikileaks.

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