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Canadian Supreme Court To Decide If Linking Is Publishing 82

An anonymous reader writes "Will Canada become a black hole in cyberspace? Or will it remain a country of which former prime minister Wilfred Laurier once said, 'Canada is free and freedom is its nationality.' According to p2pnet's Jon Newton, that'll be for the nine members of the federal Supreme Court to decide. Newton was sued by ex-Green Party of Canada financier Wayne Crookes for allegedly defaming him by linking to a story Crookes didn't like. Newton is now back home on Vancouver Island after traveling to Ottawa for the SCC hearing. Was it win or lose? It's an 'Epic Fail' for Crookes, Newton says. The Supreme Court reserved its decision. Its rulings are 'typically released six to eight months after a hearing,' according to the CBC in its report on the case. Says Ars Technica, 'As CIPPIC puts it, if Newton loses, the ruling could "chill hyperlinking which in turn undermines the communicative force of the Internet and deters innovation of new, expression-enhancing platforms that may not develop due to fear of defamation actions."'"
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Canadian Supreme Court To Decide If Linking Is Publishing

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  • by javacowboy ( 222023 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @10:29AM (#34522970)

    If the Supreme Court rules the wrong way, the decision won't stand.

    Everybody from Google to Bell and Rogers will lobby heavily against this. This would certainly kill Google's business in Canada outright, seriously harm Microsoft through MSN/Windows Live and even result in less internet subscriptions for Bell and Rogers. Also, any Canadian news site would be doing a full court press against this. What's more, I don't see how any powerful companies would benefit from this wrong decision.

    Rest assured that all these companies would lobby Parliament to change the laws so that this decision gets reversed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @10:45AM (#34523058)

    Not really, this is a classic among powers that be.
    You simple make something very common illegal and then you don't enforce the law.
    This way you make a lot of people criminals and you can cherry pick whoever you want to go after.
    It is a very common way to get rid of the whole inconvient equal to the law thingy..

    Captcha: Litigate

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @10:48AM (#34523076)

    You know I really appreciate all the work that goes into your site and support it, I really do, but that's pretty offtopic. You don't need to shill the site in every ./ thread.

  • Re:Apt Analogies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @11:29AM (#34523276) Homepage

    No, to imply linking is publishing is to imply responsibility for the content at the website published by somebody else. Also the link must divine the future as you would would also deemed to have published all future changes to the web site after having published the link to that site.

    Also the judge would have to be clairvoyant in an ruling with regard to your intent when linking to the site and how carefully you perused the contents of the site you linked to.

    Publishing a link is publishing the description to that link and the link itself, nothing more nothing less. Any judgement to the contrary represents a corrupt bias to achieve political change whether as a result of corporate of government intervention.

    An example a 'hyperlink description' [], I read the first paragraph so that it was loosely be on topic and take no responsibility beyond that, not for the remaining content nor any future changes to that content, for any judge to say that I published the content referred to in the link would be a sure sign of corruption on the part of that judge.

  • by esookeca ( 1867812 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:03PM (#34523496)

    Most of the media is making the point of the lawsuit solely about linking. The important point in the lawsuit is whether or not deliberately linking defamatory or libelous content (i.e you know what the linked content it) is the same as spreading defamatory or libelous statements.

    The lawsuit is not about links for which you are not aware of the semantic content (i.e. search results from Google).

    For example, I find a web page that incorrectly paints you as a pedophile. I link to it, and other likewise defamatory content, spread my link to your associates. I have written no defamatory content myself, but ....

  • by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @05:30PM (#34525530) Homepage Journal

    Why should I have to explain how the whole Internet is supposed to work for every link on my site, just because some clueless, easily offended n00b doesn't have a reason to sue?

    That's retarded.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.