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Canadian Court Rules "Hyperlink" Is Not Defamation 120

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In a landmark ruling, a Canadian court has ruled that a web site's publication of hyperlinks to an allegedly defamatory web site is not in and of itself a 'publication,' and therefore cannot in and of itself constitute defamation. In a 10-page decision [PDF], Crookes v. Wikimedia, Sup. Ct., British Columbia, Judge Keller dismissed the libel case against Jon Newton, the publisher of p2pnet.net, which was based on the fact that his article contained links to the allegedly defamatory site, since hyperlinks, the Court reasoned, are analogous to footnotes, rather than constituting a 'republication.' Mr. Newton was represented in the case by famous libel, slander, and civil liberties lawyer Dan Burnett of Vancouver, British Columbia."
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Canadian Court Rules "Hyperlink" Is Not Defamation

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  • Of course not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:03PM (#25534823) Homepage
    Of course it isn't just as telling someone that there is a book that says Hitler is a bad guy isn't saying it yourself even if it's true.

    It's informing someone of a resource not defaming someone.
  • where's our focus? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wikinerd ( 809585 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:25PM (#25535043) Journal
    A huge document, an army of highly-paid professionals, and lots of time devoted to arguing about whether hyperlinks are republications or footnotes. It's no wonder why the economy goes like this and nobody produces anything. Geez. I'd prefer to live on a planet where the humans prefer investing their time and energy in growing potatoes and assembling widgets in factories, rather than arguing about whether hyperlinks amount to republication or footnotes. I am not saying that legal professionals are not useful people, they are, but what I am saying is that we, the humanity as a whole, seem to have lost our focus on what is really important: in a sane society a case like this wouldn't even be subject to argumentation and analysis, because there are a myriad other more productive activities to spend one's time (yea like posting on slashdot!).
  • by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:28PM (#25535075)

    Is it because, the US Bar Association is protecting its members by making the legal "language" aka Legalese hard to understand or is because most US judges are fucking retarded and can't put a coherent sentence together?

    Perhaps, just perhaps, that's not an "or" question? I'm going to go waaaaay out on a limb and say that the answer to your question(s) is just "Yes." Yes the bar association is trying to cover the ass of their members, and yes a fair number of US judges seem to make mind-bogglingly weird decisions.

  • Re:Of course not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:37PM (#25535177) Journal

    Let me suggest that you read all the way to the end of the decision -- context is everything. The judge essentially said that the context in which you put the link is the critical factor:

    I would think that the context shouldn't matter at all unless the linked-to material had been previously proven defamatory in a court of law.

    But IANAL, so what do I know.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351