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Canada's Wayne Crookes Sues the Net 200

Posted by kdawson
from the shotgun-doesn't-begin-to-cover-it dept.
newtley writes "Wayne Crookes, the Green Party of Canada's ex-financier, is in effect trying to sue the Internet. He's going after the Wikipedia, Google, and openpolitics.ca (run up by federal Green Party activist Michael Pilling) claiming he's suffered, 'an immense amount of frustration and emotional distress' over postings. Some 15 others may also have been targeted. "Mr. Crookes seems to be 'trying to unwrite history,' Pilling says. 'He was a central figure in the growth of the Green Party. His actions were highly controversial and if we have freedom of speech in this country, people should be allowed to talk about them.'" Newtley adds in a posting submitted 121 minutes later: "Literally 15 minutes after I posted [the foregoing], there was a knock on my door. It was a writ server telling me I, too, have been named in a lawsuit launched by Wayne Crookes..."
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Canada's Wayne Crookes Sues the Net

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  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:06AM (#18831131) Homepage Journal
    Nominative determinism?

    --jeffk++
  • by bhouston (788429) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:09AM (#18831151)
    The submitter of this post is in a position of conflict of interest and appears to be using SlashDot as a means to denigrate the individual behind the lawsuit. As it is clear from newtley's post, newtley himself is highly been involved in whatever shenanigans that are going on here. It is unfortunate and dishonest that newtley is using this forum as a platform to smear his opponent. Just from newtley's egregious behavior here, I can imagine that aspects of this case have more merit that he is portraying.
    • by bhouston (788429) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:18AM (#18831207)
      Strange, my original comment was moderated as flamebait. First time one of my comments has been moderated as such, must be having an off day. I still think the individual who submitted this story did so for self-interested PR reasons. The individual who submitted this story has published negative information on the individual who has now filed suit and has continued this pattern by misportraying/ridiculing the suit. This type of behavior is discoverable in court.
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by E-Sabbath (42104)
        Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce.
        Canadian Charter of Rights and Freeoms:
        Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ... (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.

        Negative information does not mean untrue information. And I certainly would like to see how suppressing negative information which may very well be honest opinion is "a reasonable limit". Negative information is not hate speech. Negative information is not libel. N
        • by bhouston (788429) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @10:20AM (#18831557)
          You do realize that this is formally a "libel case" as per the G&M story. This means that Crooke is alleging and will have to prove in court that the material in question is of an untrue nature. Thus from Crooke's perspective, this is not a case about "negative information" but about untrue information. Of course Crooke could be wrong, if he is, he sure will be wasting a lot of money on these suits.

          You also claim that this lawsuit is a SLAPP. But typical SLAPPs lawsuits differ from this one though in an important way, Crooke has sued two very large firms that have more than enough money to defend themselves: Google and Wikipedia. SLAPPs, since they are based on intimating people who can't afford to defend themselves, usually are targeted only against small folk, not the big guys. Google and Wikipedia are unlikely to fold simply because the lawsuit was filed, and thus I do not believe this particular lawsuit of Crooke can be classified as your SLAPP.
          • by E-Sabbath (42104)
            Ah, but he is suing people who may have linked to, or talked about, said information.
            Specifically, it seems he's now suing someone who's talking about him suing someone. That's a SLAPP.
          • by billsoxs (637329)

            Google and Wikipedia are unlikely to fold simply because the lawsuit was filed...

            ummm looking at new and old versions on wiki,

            http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wayne_Cr ookes&oldid=74738593 [wikipedia.org]

            I would say that they have already folded.

            • by sumdumass (711423)
              Maybe that is because there is some merit to the idea of the stuff being false. I don't know enough about it to make a decision. All I know is what this story submission is saying. Could it be possible this is one last attempt to smear this guy before a court stops it? I mean after all, If it is on the internet, it must be true. right?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by geekboy642 (799087)
              It's worth noting that only one individual is responsible for the blanking, and the current protection. More telling, this individual didn't make a note on the talk page about his actions, and hasn't responded on that page to requests for clarification.

              Remember that anybody can edit Wikipedia. And anybody who makes an effort of it can become an admin. It could be someone working for either side of the lawsuits, or simply a green party supporter. There's no way to know.
          • by HUADPE (903765)
            Wikipedia is amazingly popular, but they aren't a "very large firm that has more than enough money to defend itself." The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit, and while not broke, does not have a ton of money and could be crippled by a well-financed lawsuit. Of course, if SCO decides to join as a co-plaintiff, the donations might start pouring into Wikimedia Foundation.
          • by asninn (1071320)

            Crooke has sued two very large firms that have more than enough money to defend themselves: Google and Wikipedia.

            Wow... I've really got to applaud you for managing to stuff that many mistakes about Wikipedia into one sentence. Let's see: 1) Wikipedia is not a company, it's a project run by the Wikimedia Foundation. 2) The Wikimedia Foundation is not a company, either; they're a charitable non-profit organisation. 3) The Wikimedia Foundation, with 5 paid employees, is not "very large", even if you stret

    • by lordmatthias215 (919632) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @12:31PM (#18832403)
      I'm calling BS on this statement. Nothing in this guy's post could honestly be taken as smear- not any more than any other /. article. The fact of the matter is that this Crookes man doesn't like what is being posted about him on open forums, and is suing the editors of said forums for comments that not only did they not make, but that they disavow any ownership of in their legal disclaimers, as does any open forum. Furthermore, Michael Piling, head of OpenPolitics, even edited the offensive material, only to have the original material reposted by the user. How is Piling deserving of a lawsuit for something that is not only not his fault, but that he tried to correct to the wishes of Crookes? It'd be one thing if the lawsuit was for refusing to release the names or IP addresses of the users commiting libel, as that could be (mis)construed as aiding and abetting criminals, but even that would be a pretty weak case. Furthermore, I notice that the lawsuit against Wikipedia was made April 16, though Crookes' entry on the site was cut to a stub and protected nearly a month earlier, on March 19. Besides, he will need to prove to a court that the statements made on these sites were not only false (which shouldn't be too hard) but made with malignant intent something that will be nearly impossible to prove against anonymous users, and absolutely impossible to prove against the hosts of public forums who have made efforts to edit, remove, and block said harmful statements from appearing on their sites.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      (Posting here in case the Wikipedia gods decide to bend over and completely expunge it, somehow... This is all GFDL material.)

      Lender to Green Parties

      He is best known for his involvement in the Green Party of British Columbia, to which he donated substantial funds in 2001, and the Green Party of Canada, to which he lent nearly $440,000 in 2003-4. It was his activities as that party's major creditor that brought him to the public eye.

      Theories began in 2001 about Crookes' motives, with some persons claiming hi
    • Sadly, it's not even something new. I've been under a distinct impression lately that there are a lot more Slashdot articles which are blatant heavy-handed PR, than anything even remotely resembling news. This one only stands out by not even trying to disguise the blatant conflict of interest, but otherwise is no different from any other of the "news" directly telling you "X is wrong. X is doing evil stuff. Your very rights/future/whatever depend on joining in the anti-X crusade _now_."

      Now I'm not necessari
    • by fredmosby (545378)
      I'm not interested in who the poster is. The only thing I'm concerned about is wether or not what he is saying is true. From your other posts in this thread it seems that you're not disputing that the suits were filed. So your argument is apparently: "the statements the post are true but you should disregard them because the person who said it is a 'bad' person". That makes no sense.

      I want to see these suits fail because I don't want to have to consult a lawyer every time I post something on an intern
    • by argStyopa (232550)
      .
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      occuponymous
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      .
  • by nurb432 (527695)
    Will also sue all of us users, who know the truth?

    This should fall under 'its funny'.

  • by HerrEkberg (971000) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:14AM (#18831193) Homepage
    247 lawsuits filed against a Mr. Anonymous Coward for postings causing "immense amounts of frustration and emotional distress".
  • Downtime (Score:5, Funny)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:14AM (#18831195) Homepage Journal
    So tahts why slashdot was down earlier today, they were erasing all the evidence.

    "oops, harddrive crash... nothing to see here judge"
  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:15AM (#18831197)
    Things like this help us remember why we have the right to free speech. It's because of people trying to remove our right to speak out against them, just like is happening here.

    It's sometimes difficult for young'uns to remember that the internet, in it's populer worldwide usage form at least, is still very young. A great many people, organisations and countries were caught off guard by the freedom it gave for comment, and are still trying to remove that freedom.

    Their efforts are going to fail, but not because of any moral or ethical issue, simply because of evolutionary principles. The internet is evolving faster then it can be censored. If, and this I doubt, but if they manage to censor all the current expression methods on the internet, more will be created to fill the gaps, and more. It's a fight that can't be won.

    The only thing we need worry about is whether 4chan becomes the dominant player in the free expression market :-)

    • by malsdavis (542216)
      You make the common mistake of referring to 'the internet' as an entity. The entire reason it can't be censored is because it isn't a single entity.

      Single entities can - and commonly are - censored. The websites primarily involved in this dispute (Wikipedia, Google, and openpolitics.ca) have all been subject to either enforced or self-initiated censorship.

    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:40AM (#18831315)
      Things like this help us remember why we have the right to free speech.

      Well, I'm not sure what the term free speech means in Canada, but down here in the U.S. it means that the government is not allowed to suppress Constitutionally-protected speech (which it does anyway, but that's a topic for another day.) It does not mean that we aren't allowed to suppress each other. The courts determine when and if we can do that, and if Mr. Crook wants to throw his weight around and try to "suppress" his detractors, that really doesn't come under the heading of free speech. It may be an abuse of laws, and of those being threatened. I don't know, I'm not Canadian, and like I said maybe the term means something different under Canada's legal system.

      It's a fight that can't be won.

      Sure it can. You understand that the Internet is evolving, but you're assuming that the Internet, as it stands today, is the only way such a network can be run. China has already shown us a different way (certainly not a better way, by Western standards) where what can be found online can be strictly controlled, if the government so chooses. Even here, in the land of the brave, home of the free ... the locking down of the Internet is already underway. Five years from now, or ten, and I think those of us "old timers" will look back fondly on the so-called Wild West days, where you could send a packet anywhere and not worry about whether a blood-sucking ISP, an unfriendly government, or even our own governments would block it.

      Certainly there will always technological measures that can be implemented to get around most such obstacles, but the problem is that those tools will never be in the hands of the majority of the voting public. If the Internet doesn't just conveniently "work", doesn't just let them go where they want to go, most people will never get there ... and that's exactly how some people want it.

      I guess what I'm saying is, enjoy it while it lasts.

      The only thing we need worry about is whether 4chan becomes the dominant player in the free expression market :-)

      What's a 4chan?
      • I'm not sure what the term free speech means in Canada, but down here in the U.S. it means that the government is not allowed to suppress Constitutionally-protected speech (which it does anyway, but that's a topic for another day.) It does not mean that we aren't allowed to suppress each other.

        No. "Free speech" means free speech - it means that nobody can suppress it. It's a concept that exists independently of any laws or constitutions. The First Amendment defines one aspect of it, but it's not a comprehen
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        Well, I'm not sure what the term free speech means in Canada, but down here in the U.S. it means that the government is not allowed to suppress Constitutionally-protected speech (which it does anyway, but that's a topic for another day.) It does not mean that we aren't allowed to suppress each other. The courts determine when and if we can do that

        You're an idiot. When Party A requests that the court limit the speech of Party B, he is, in fact, requesting that the government limit B's speech as allowed by law. The limits allowable by law are subject to the 1st Amendment.

      • by rucs_hack (784150)
        What's a 4chan?

        A net forum where everyone is anonymous. Google for it, it's an entertaining place.

    • With freedom of speech comes responsibility. You're free to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't unduly cause harm to other people. Without such restrictions we'd have anarchy.

      Libel is libel.

      Now I don't know the facts of this case, but being the victim of a recent Joe-job attack I'm entirely for holding message board operators responsible for the content of their systems. Just because you *can* let anonymous users post any random thought that comes to mind doesn't mean they should.

      In my case, some
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015)
        You're free to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't unduly cause harm to other people.

        It's probably more correct to say, "you're free to say whatever you want so long as it's true", at least in the United States. If the truth causes harm, well, sometimes the truth hurts. If you don't want people to talk about the bad things you do, don't do the bad things in the first place. I mean, it has to cut both ways.

        Dunno about Canada, but I'd think it would be similar.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tomstdenis (446163)
          iirc from the libel section [~298] of the CCC, the "truth" has to also be in the publics best interest.

          It's may be true that you fancy barbie dolls and collect stamps, but the public has no need for such information and if you publish it to harm another (e.g. ridicule, contempt, etc) you may be guilty of libel.

          Simply being true isn't enough. But I'm not a lawyer so I dunno if that's 100% correct.

          • It's may be true that you fancy barbie dolls and collect stamps ...

            Who told you that? Damn.
      • With freedom of speech comes responsibility. You're free to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't unduly cause harm to other people. Without such restrictions we'd have anarchy.

        Yet another person who has no idea what the meaning of anarchy is. Please go and do some research.

        In fact, the very definition you gave is one description of anarchy, that is, you are free to do what you want so long as you don't take someone elses freedom.

        An-archy - without rulers, not without rules.

        • The definition in the OED says nothing about rules. Actually, there are two different definitions, one with a positive connotation and one with a negative. Neither really says anything about whether or not people can take other people's freedoms in a non-government way. By the definitions of rule, it almost seems that there needs to be a ruler in some form for there to be rules, if not the form of entities or person, then in the form of the people.
          • By the definitions of rule, it almost seems that there needs to be a ruler in some form for there to be rules ...

            So then, what it really boils down to is a choice between English or Metric.
      • It's already set, forumn operators are not responsible for what is posted there. Libel is libel only if you spread false information.
        • Yeah, see that's not the case in Canada (or any other half-way civilized country).

          But even in the USA, there isn't much pressure to moderate for even false statements, let alone libelous truths.

          Tom
          • I checked it out and I stand corrected. However doesn't cooke need to prove that information was malicious?
    • by Dirtside (91468)
      I don't think the postings on 4chan qualify as "expression". ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:17AM (#18831201)
    I had never heard of this guy before. Now I have heard of him and I think he's an idiot. He has found an amazingly effective way to destroy his own reputation.
  • If he tries to sue enough people, then they could band together and countersue as a class action suit. (assuming Canada has class-action lawsuits)
    • by owlnation (858981)

      If he tries to sue enough people, then they could band together and countersue as a class action suit. (assuming Canada has class-action lawsuits)

      Conversely, he could garner support and create a class action of his own. After all, the number of people unjustly negatively affected by Wikipedia must be considerable, and those people are for the most part successful.

      It amazes me that no-one's gone after Wikipedia in a big way before now, it's a site that has been begging for it for some time.

  • by WED Fan (911325)

    Remember, this is Canada we are talking about, where, for a short while, it was illegal to name a cow with a human name [www.cbc.ca] all because a mid-level functionary, and hyper-sensitive twit shared the same name as a state owned cow.

  • They are green.
  • As of a few days ago, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Crookes [wikipedia.org] is a generic biography page. It's also protected.

    The January and September versions have some meat on them. Whether they are accurate or not, who knows?
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Sunday April 22, 2007 @09:50AM (#18831375) Homepage

    The Kook of the Month [killfile.org] [mind your eyes at that site] award ought to be revived...

  • Is there a public figure [wikipedia.org] rule in Canadian law?
  • I know I'll get a bashing with thet modbat for that, but there is a limit to free speech. It is when my speaking is slander. Saying "Crookes is a crook" just 'cause I don't like him would constitute that.

    Note that I'm neither saying that he has a case for slander, nor that he doesn't. I cannot decide this. I have read TFA, and now I know one side of the story. Judging it from that would be similar to politicians making laws after hearing the lobbyists. And I tend to think of myself being above politicians i
    • by cpghost (719344)

      Saying "Crookes is a crook" just 'cause I don't like him would constitute that.

      But what if you said: "I think Crookes is a crook"? You're not saying that he's a crook, but only that's your personal opinion. And opinions are still not facts. Or even more subtle: "It's being said on the Net that Crooks is a crook." (add links). Again: you're not saying that he's a crook, only that others are saying it. You could even ask the question: "Is Crookes a crook?" or asking "The blogosphere is debating wether Cro

      • About 200-100 years ago my country was a veritable police state. This is considered our "classic" time where the best plays and stories were written. Maybe a reason is actually just that, that these stories were very carefully worded to get past censorship. Yes, everyone knew how to interpret it. I actually don't find that ironic, you can actually see the same effect in people coming from countries with heavy censorship. They tend to disbelieve what they read and they tend to think for themselves, since the
      • by geekoid (135745)
        THat's fine. Also I believe he is a crook, I don't trust him, he seems like a crook.

        What are you, a crook? also fine
        DO people know you are a crook? is fine.
        By crooke or by hook is fine.

        Just not "You are a crooke." or Crookes is a crook.

  • Speaking of Emotional Distress, is it a coincidence that this is being posted right after the story about goatse.cx being up for sale?

    I think not.

  • Al Gore (Score:5, Funny)

    by truckaxle (883149) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @11:17AM (#18831889) Homepage
    All I can say is that Al Gore better get a good lawyer....
  • by alisson (1040324) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @12:50PM (#18832565)
    I'm suing calculus, for undue mental distress.
  • Perhaps the poor fellow has been out of the news longer than he wished.
  • Naturally, this posting must cause him some distress. So he must be suing slashdot next.

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