Appellant: Wayne Crookes and West Coast Title Search Ltd
Respondent: Jon Newton
Third Parties (Interveners): Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Samuelson-Glushko, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, NetCoalition, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Newspaper Association, Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Magazines Canada, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Writers’ Union of Canada, Professional Writers Association of Canada, PEN Canada and Canadian Publishers’ Council
The British Columbia Supreme Court
The British Columbia Court of Appeal
The Supreme Court of Canada
The appellant Wayne Crookes discovered the respondent, Jon Newton, had posted an article that contained hyperlinks to what Crookes deemed defamatory content and instructed him to eliminate them. Newton rejected Crookes request, so Crookes sued Newton for damages, claiming defamation on the foundation that the hyperlinks established publication of the articles he believed to be defamatory. While evidence showed that Newton’s article had been viewed 1,788 times, there was no way to prove that the hyperlinks were viewed by any other parties.
Should hyperlink views be taken into consideration?
Should a hyperlink be considered publication in certain circumstances?
When is the line crossed in dealing with freedom of speech online?
Decision and Reasoning
The British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed the case, stating that Crookes had failed to prove publication of the defamatory statements.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision made by The British Columbia Supreme Court and dismissed the appeal.
The Supreme Court of Canada…