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Canadian Supreme Court Rules Linking Is Not Defamation

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the keep-those-anchors-polite dept.

Canada 88

omega6, joining the legions of accepted submitters, writes "The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that posting links is not the same as posting the actual content, but more similar to a footnote. 'The top court ruled against former Green party campaign manager Wayne Crookes, who argued that posting links to sites with defamatory statements was the same as publishing the defamatory material.'"

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88 comments

First post! (-1, Offtopic)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763072)

Link to first postage [slashdot.org]

Re:First post! (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763124)

Aha! Now is or isn't that a first post? It's there but it only links to the content of the first post, so it's not really a first post in itself! A perplexing conundrum!

Hmm (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763082)

I can't remember the URL for goatse.cx, or I'd totally post it.

Re:Hmm (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763384)

I can't remember the URL for goatse.cx, or I'd totally post it.

Here you go

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0 [youtube.com] [goatse.cx]

Re:Hmm (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765224)

I'm very scared...

Re:Hmm (1)

lsllll (830002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770604)

Shit man! You made me watch that whole fucking video hoping I was going to see Goatse at some point. Should've realized I would never see Goatse because of the URL.

Re:Hmm (1)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764332)


I always forgot as well, it was easier just to make it my homepage.

Finally some sense. (4, Interesting)

sherriw (794536) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763096)

Hopefully this extends to the fact that linking to pirated content is not piracy.

Re:Finally some sense. (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763150)

Sure, in Canada.

Re:Finally some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763256)

+$$$ Unlike

Oh... ehhh... (grabs $$$) No, actually, because that is "facilitating copyright infringement". There! Now I'm off to Barbados for a week where there's an all-expenses-paid Intellectual Property Rights Seminar.

Re:Finally some sense. (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764780)

So is there no "Facilitating Defamation"?

Re:Finally some sense. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763500)

Sure, in Canada.

Well, now at least the *AA execs will know who to Blame It On.

Re:Finally some sense. (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763852)

It shouldn't. The crux of the ruling is that the content can change, and even if it doesn't there's no evidence that you read every last word on the page. Therefore, just posting a link to a site that says something defamatory doesn't constitute republishing or endorsing that statement. However, if you have a content aggregator, it's pretty damn obvious exactly what it's linking to. Because it's not just presenting links to some all gibberish URL, it's naming that link after the copyrighted content at that tracker, complete with file size, duration, and all that stuff. You cannot make the defense that "it's just a link I didn't know what it was to!" when you list exactly what it's linking to.

Re:Finally some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767356)

But the same logic applies.

and even if it doesn't there's no evidence that you read every last word on the page

There's nothing that says that you actually looked at the contents of the torrent. Someone just gave you a file that is essentially a link & gave it a name. Furthermore, what about sites like isohunt which didn't even maintain any trackers nor their own torrents. They just aggregated links from other sites.

However, if you have a content aggregator, it's pretty damn obvious exactly what it's linking to

Is it though? Are you telling me that you've never seen content mislabelled? What if you only intend to aggregate legitimate content? Without infringing on copyright yourself, how are you supposed to validate whether or not the content pointed to by a torrent is infringing (assuming you had some way to arbitrarily determine whether or not a piece of content infringed on copyright which in and of itself is an impossible thing to do accurately)?

Of course all of this is irrelevant since this ruling has nothing to do with copyright.

Because it's not just presenting links to some all gibberish URL, it's naming that link after the copyrighted content at that tracker, complete with file size, duration, and all that stuff

I don't know what you're referring to, but no site I know of lists the duration. No one has that information unless you start downloading the file which no tracker does AFAIK (copyright infringement + parsing arbitrary content is opening yourself up to security vulnerabilities) & certainly the site wouldn't (assuming the tracker isn't run by the site).

You cannot make the defense that "it's just a link I didn't know what it was to!" when you list exactly what it's linking to.

How do you know what you're linking to? You're making this claim but it's certainly not backed up by anything.

Re:Finally some sense. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764130)

Sorry but this ruling only applies to liable and defamation suits.

Re:Finally some sense. (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764608)

The terms you're looking for are:

Slander [reference.com]
Libel [reference.com]
Defamation [reference.com]

Now, you may be liable [reference.com] for some form of damages/action in a civil lawsuit thereby...

Getting back to the root of the issue - Canada doesn't have proper free speech protections (as the abuses by their so-called "human rights commission" [wikipedia.org] indicate). That's what makes such a seemingly minor court case seem so important - the protection of unpopular speech from repressive government action or repressive action by determined individuals does not exist in Canada. Even the ability to say "See, these guys over in (country X with proper freedom of speech protection) say the following" is curtailed, sadly.

fraudulent corporations who bribe politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763144)

I hope carmax fraudsters try to sue me for defamation. #CarMaxFraud the real reason for the recent financial meltdown !!

Aggrigation Sites (3, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763148)

So then a link to a copyrighted work would just be a foot note and not copyright infringement. Time for all those aggregation sites to move to Canadian ISPs.

Re:Aggrigation Sites (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763182)

Yeah you should be able to legally run a torrent tracker by basically inserting something like the TPB interface as the references section of lorem ipsum.

Re:Aggrigation Sites (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764156)

Probably not as this judgment only applies to liable and defamation cases.

Re:Aggrigation Sites (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37765418)

s/Aggrigation/Aggregation/g
s/liable/libel/g

Re:Aggrigation Sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37765606)

Hey, no screwing up Canada further. Because Canada's trying so damn hard to be exactly like the USA, we're holding onto what little shred of usefulness the internet has up here. If torrent sites start heading our way, the higher-ups will be chomping at the bit to use that as a reason we need to have Canada's RIAA equivelant run the internet.

I'm not naive enough to thing it'll ever change the other way, so I'm happy with my tiny scrap, thanks.

A sensible court decision *applause* (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763212)

How I love thee, let me cite[1],[2],[3] ways...

Somehow I just don't think that'll work, come Valentine's Day...

Which side were the Greens on? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763222)

If Crookes did this in association with the party, then fuck them. They're just like the rest. Their record on internet freedom isn't exactly outstanding. The stand they took a few years back in favor of filtering in Australia is a case in point. Either way, I don't trust them as far as I can throw them.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763344)

What has being "green" got to do with Copyright law?

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763464)

Less law = less paper?

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763478)

Nothing. Neither does this ruling, which is about libel laws.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763594)

Fair enough, but this being Slashdot, I'm sure everyone thought of Copyright as soon as they read the first sentence in the summary. The concept is definitely applicable to sites like torrent trackers.

Disclaimer: I don't actually agree with violating Copyright in most cases, but I do think it's stupid to have double standards. If posting a link to defamation isn't defamation, then posting a link to Copyright infringing content isn't Copyright infringement.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763568)

Did you skip the summery? The plaintiff in this case was a former campaign manager for the Green Party of Canada.

Also, copyright reform is a significant part of the Green Party of Canada's platform.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763794)

The second part of what you said makes the first part relevant. Okay.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763648)

What has being "green" got to do with Copyright law?

Not much. Of course, this is the party that is eager to clamp down on wifi, saying they want "Health Canada create enforceable, biologically-based regulations, that would limit human exposure to radio frequency radiation to a precautionary limit of 0.1 uw/cm2 (or 0.614 v/m ) for cumulative outdoor exposure". I thought the Sun output more than that, but I could be wrong.

Also, there's this amusing tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/ElizabethMay/status/96091744076177409 [twitter.com] Well, obviously she doesn't have wifi, she's got a Blackberry!

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37766918)

I wonder if she is oblivious to that, or doesn't care. Either way it's painful.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763798)

I made no mention of copyright. The issue is enforced filtering and general freedom of speech. Besides, the Australian deal was over pornography [theaustralian.com.au] . The author of the link was running for some position under the Green Party.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764506)

Nothing about copyright law.

But the Greens do support "hate speech" laws, which would reasonably fall under this ruling. You could link to "hate speech" but not post it yourself.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (5, Informative)

Retardical_Sam (1002763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763452)

The case had nothing to do with his association to the Green Party, it was in relation to his private business. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/19/pol-scoc-hyperlink.html?cmp=rss [www.cbc.ca]

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763682)

Well, I only asked because the Greens were mentioned in the summary and various articles. However, I think it's important to know where the Greens stand on such issues before they are given any real political power. In matters of verbal communications, it's the listeners that should be held responsible for their reactions to anything being said.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (2)

langarto (718855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765058)

However, the guy is a member of the green party. If he thinks that linking to something is the same as publishing it, I would not want him near any position of power. Hence, I would only consider voting for the greens if they expelled him from the party (and if I were German).

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767232)

Crookes "resigned" (more a case of "you can't fire me, because I quit") from his position in the Green party back in 2006 and he was never a parliamentary candidate for them. He was their head campaign manager from 2000 til his resignation.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37764016)

You think the Green Party of Canada has the same platform as the Green Party of Australia?

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764138)

History shows that all political parties become more corrupt with increased acquisition of power. I've watched the Greens in various countries, and the alliances they make are less than palatable. And people being people, there's really not much to differentiate no matter where they are from.

Re:Which side were the Greens on? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37764128)

They're just like the rest

They are authoritarian statists. Unless you're in high school you should have figured that out already.

What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763306)

Does this protect http://www.example.com/john/is/a/compulsive/liar [example.com] ?

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763618)

Dunno if they ruled on that. It might depend upon whether the link is visible or not, because there isn't a technical requirement that the link be human-readable in the host document (you can link around any text you want [example.com] , including potentially libelous stuff that I'm specifically not saying that I am endorsing or agreeing with [example.com] ). True, you could still read the URL in the browser, but I managed to link to the same URL as you did, but without making the potentially libelous words obvious to the reader (although I suppose if the libel was in the domain-name itself slashdot or some other site might tack on the libelous bit automatically). The main point the judges seem to be making is that there is no other practical way to link to potentially libelous materials that might be relevant to a free and public discussion. Anyway, in libel law if you present the libelous stuff yourself, the liabilities are somewhat different from if you say the libelous stuff is available "over there", as supplied from someone else. You might have to be careful about how you refer to the other material, but do it without endorsement and you should be ok. That seems to be the precedent they are setting.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764462)


Here in .ca we have rules about government sites needing to be bilingual with a common look-and-feel to them.

We had a site that was only of interest to geeks throughout our department. I did some digging and it turns out that things like source code aren't covered by the rules. So I started posting pages that looked like

// information.c

/* info blah blah blah
blah blah more blah blah blah etc etc blah
blah blah more crap blah blah

blah blah info blah
*/

#include<stdio.h>
main()
{ printf("Hello World"); }

Was asked about it by people from Ottawa, explained it, never had a problem.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765030)

I don't actually know French, but I think I get the gist of that info comment.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763736)

No.

However, if a post linking to another site itself contains defamatory material, the poster may be liable in a defamation action.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764026)

I read that as the post text, not necessarily the URL—I think a decent argument could be made that the link (or rather, citations generally) is not part of the "post" itself, which was my point. I don't know anything about Canadian law, though.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764050)

No.

However, if a post linking to another site itself contains defamatory material, the poster may be liable in a defamation action.

How about http://www.example.com/john-is-a?compulsive=not&liar=no [example.com] pointing to a page with derogatory statements? Would that fly?

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764476)

If your link, or any other part of the page your link is on, suggests you endorse or support the defamatory page, you could be nailed for libel. It's in the decision.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765136)

If your link, or any other part of the page your link is on, suggests you endorse or support the defamatory page, you could be nailed for libel. It's in the decision.

Hence the question. Vars compulsive=not and liar=no. I'm wondering what case law will be derived from this, now, before it happens.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765258)

Well, since most people aren't even going to notice the URL, I don't think it'll come up. Much more important will be the content of the page. But if the plaintiff can use the URL string to impute an intention to defame or an endorsement of the defamatory page, then they might win.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764010)

If we following the footnote analogy, then this is equivalent to a footnote to a book with a defamatory title. Citing such a book is probably protected, but creating a made up title for the purpose of defaming someone might not be defamatory.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

wrecked (681366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764264)

Does this protect http://www.example.com/john/is/a/compulsive/liar [example.com] ?

This is implied by the separate but concurring judgment. The Chief Justice writes: "In sum, in our view, a hyperlink should constitute publication if, read contextually, the text that includes the hyperlink constitutes adoption or endorsement of the specific content it links to." Crookes v Newton (2011 SCC 47) [canlii.ca] at paragraph 50.

Re:What if the defamation is in the link? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37766082)

NO. It does not protect you if the defamation/libel is in the link. From the Toronto Sun [torontosun.com] article on the matter:

“The Internet, in short, cannot provide access to information without hyperlinks,” wrote Justice Rosalie Abella. “Limiting their usefulness by subjecting them to the traditional publication rule would have the effect of seriously restricting the flow of information and as a result, freedom of expression.”

While the decision was unanimous, two justices warned that framing or endorsing the link as the truth or accurate could still land an Internet linker in court.

“Combined text and hyperlink may amount to publication of defamatory material,” wrote Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin and Justice Morris Fish. “If the text communicates agreement with the content linked to, then the hyperlinker should be liable for the defamatory content.”

off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763440)

so, on main page, the title bar for this was red - thought it was cool to have Canada related stories to be marked this way - anyway, refreshed and it was gone, what was this actually supposed to be indicating?

Re:off topic (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763612)

Subscribers get to see stories slightly before the rest of users (but can't comment until the story goes live), and they are shown with a red title to indicate that they haven't gone live yet. However on occasion, a bug in slashcode causes regular users to see a red title for a short time after the story has gone live.

Site of were this all started - p2pnet (1)

Bork (115412) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763486)

The Crookes vs Newton case, Newton runs the site p2pnet were the link was posted.

http://www.p2pnet.net/ [p2pnet.net]

easy way to abuse this: (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763492)

Set up a website anonymously with whatever content you want on it and then link to it, now it's not yours but you are essentially saying it anyways.
www.republicancandidatesmomisadirtywhore.com hey i'm just linking it, i didn't call this guys mom a whore!

Re:easy way to abuse this: (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763554)

In order to really protect yourself the site would be www.republicancandidatesmomisadirtywhore.ca and be hosted in Canada.

Re:easy way to abuse this: (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763760)

You'd also need to live in Canada. CIRA has presence requirements for obtaining a .ca domain. Basically, to get a .ca domain, you either need to be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, a native, an Indian band, a corporation registered in Canada, hold a Canadian trademark, be the executor/agent/etc. for someone of the above, or be the Queen.

Re:easy way to abuse this: (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764658)

RE: CIRA has presence requirements for obtaining a .ca domain

So does the DISH satellite TV provider.
I see those dishes on roofs in Canada. too.

Re:easy way to abuse this: (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764714)

Goofed!
The DISH satellite TV provider requires proof of US citizenship.
I see those dishes on roofs in Canada. too.

Re:easy way to abuse this: (0)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763598)

I think truth factors into the legality of content. Posting links to corroborate an article pushes it into public domain.
www.uncannyiscorrect.com/republican_candidates_moms_are_dirty_whores.html

Re:easy way to abuse this: (2)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763816)

No, the ruling still allows for a link to be defamatory if the intent is apparent. The reasoning behind the ruling is that if you link to a page, it can be changed by the host so it is senseless to view the link as your endorsement of all past and future content. Say, you link to a guy's blog and he makes a defamatory post after you link to it. Or, you link to it because you like what he said today, but further down on the page you linked he has defamatory posts you didn't notice.

However, ruling that having a link does not constitute endorsement of the content of the link doesn't make all links OK. If context makes your endorsement apparent, then just because it's a link does not protect you.

Re:easy way to abuse this: (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763844)

This is exactly what every single news show does. They get other people to say things, then claim they didn't say it, it it just news that some one else said it. News people do not get arrested for slander for reporting that someone else slandered a Senator with claims of adultery - even if the Senator is innocent.

Your method is NOT an easy way to abuse this. If you can set up a website anonymously, then you host your main website there. The crime is still committed, and is still just as hard to do.

The problem is you are confusing the crime with the bragging about the crime. The crime is actually saying something, not talking about the fact that someone said something. Those are two entirely different things.

Criminals often want to do brag about their crime, but that is not itself a crime. In fact it is often how you get caught.

So no, you are entirely wrong. This does not in any way make it easier to abuse the law or commit the crime.

Re:easy way to abuse this: (2)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764620)

Ironically, your newspaper example wouldn't have worked that way in Canada, up until Grant v. Torstar, [2009]. Previous to this, it certainly was possible for the reporter to get hit with a libel suit for reporting libelous statements. The new law under Grant sets up a new defence called responsible communication. The reporter or newspaper (or blogger) must still behave responsibly when reporting proven libelous statements made by others and must show that she acted responsibly, with the following factors to be taken into account by the jury:

The seriousness of the allegation
The public importance of the matter
The urgency of the matter
The status and reliability of the source
Whether the plaintiff's side of the story was sought and accurately reported
Whether inclusion of the defamatory statement was justifiable
Whether the defamatory statement’s public interest lay in the fact that it was made rather than its truth (“Reportage”)

Joe Gordon ... (1)

jginspace (678908) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763550)

... deserves a mention here: https://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/pendingcases/joseph-gordon/ [wordpress.com] (Yes this is Canada, not Thailand)

Re:Joe Gordon ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763826)

From that article you linked:

Joe is reported to have lived in the US state of Colorado for many years. He returned to Thailand about a year ago for treatment of high blood pressure and gout.

So, he left Thailand, apparently because he had disagreements with the Thai government. Good for him! He stays in the US long enough to become a citizen, then goes to Thailand for medical treatment, all the while knowing that he gave the Thai government the finger?

*facepalm*

I'm not excusing the Thai government--no one should ever be imprisoned for stating political beliefs--but if this guy did not realize what he was walking into, there's something seriously wrong with him. And knowing what he was walking into makes me feel significantly less sorry for him.

Re:Joe Gordon ... (1)

jginspace (678908) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763972)

It came as quite a shock when it came to light he'd been charged for merely linking to banned content. It was quite possibly a first.

I'm not sure if he left Thailand because he had disagreements with the Thai government - if memory serves he left as a young teenager. He stayed in the US more than long enough to become a citizen - something like 30 years.

Score one for Common Sense (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763586)

But we're still running way behind!

Re:Score one for Common Sense (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764544)

Today I am very proud to be Canadian.

One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37763662)

Duh! Thanks for confirming the obvious Canada Supreme Court!

Re:One word... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764646)

Obvious to you, but not so obvious to a bunch of lawyers and judges who fear or hate technology (or both), and probably not so obvious to most people who are not as expert in this area as your average slashdot reader.

Re:One word... (2)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764788)

They know what is right but they will look the other way for money.

Lawyers and lobbyists on staff= Tools of the 1%

Re:One word... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764892)

Well, my post was commenting on lawyers and judges who don't understand technology. In that sense, they certainly don't know what's "right". But as far as knowing the moral "right", well that's a whole other thread. And not as simple or clear-cut as you're making it seem. The Supreme Court of Canada has been busy just lately, and some of the decisions they've handed down have been rather painful for the government.

Some common sense at last (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37763986)

A court aknowledging that linking and publishing is different will be a strong point for arguments in the rest of the world with less tech-savvy people. I hope we can get more courts in more countries to think the same way. And then get rid of those defamation laws as well.

What about IFRAMEs and linked images? (2, Interesting)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764056)

Technically IFRAME and IMG are just links, but would they qualify as a more affirmative action and thus constitute defamation under this ruling?

Re:What about IFRAMEs and linked images? (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764952)

Technically IFRAME and IMG are just links, but would they qualify as a more affirmative action and thus constitute defamation under this ruling?

The point isn't just that it's a link, but a link to someone else's content. If your IFRAME or IMG tags are pointing to someone else's content, then this ruling would apply. If, however, they linked to your own content, then don't try to use this ruling as your defense, because you will lose.

Re:What about IFRAMEs and linked images? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765114)

How about iFrames that link to different sites and only get partial information and mix them together to create a brand new message.

Re:What about IFRAMEs and linked images? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37765146)

Technically IFRAME and IMG are just links, but would they qualify as a more affirmative action and thus constitute defamation under this ruling?

A 'loophole' to that though would be that they tend to be displayed on the page that you're visiting. So instead of being a "footnote", the bibliographic analogy could be extend to call them "excerpts": you're taking the content that was originally found elsewhere, and putting it in your own work.

(IANAL.)

Re:What about IFRAMEs and linked images? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768926)

IFRAMEs and IMGs are loaded with the page (by a normal browser), so it's kinda disingenuous to call them "just links". A technically-naive user would certainly regard them as part of the same page. That makes them quite different from links, which you have to activate before being exposed to their content.

That isn't, actually, what the court said... (2)

DougBTX (1260312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37764558)

From the link:

The second, deep hyperlink, however, did make the content readily available. All the reader had to do to gain access to the article was to click on the link, which does not constitute a barrier to the availability of the material. Thus, C has satisfied the requirements of the first component of publication on a balance of probabilities where this link is concerned. However, the nature of N’s article, the way the various links were presented and the number of hits on the article do not support an inference that the allegedly defamatory information was brought to the knowledge of some third person

He only got off because it was unlikely that anyone actually clicked the link. If his page had more hits, or someone in the court knew about logging referrer headers, then he may well not have gotten off.

Re:That isn't, actually, what the court said... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37764610)

That's from the minority judgment of Madam Justice Deschamps. While it's interesting context, the most relevant legal interpretation is the one that was endorsed by six judges and written by Justice Abella - which held that hyperlinking is not publication, simple as that.

Re:That isn't, actually, what the court said... (1)

tbarrie (125473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765962)

The part you quote is from a minority opinion. The majority decision was that linking to content does not constitute publication of that content, period.

Re:That isn't, actually, what the court said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769132)

What they said was that because he merely provided a link, instead of commenting on it, or expanding on the linked content, he was merely pointing someone to someone else's speech, not parrotting it himself. Libel needs you to write the words yourself, not cite someone else's. The court was very clear on the distinction. Had he reposted the content, he would have been guilty.

fapturbo (0)

orange2008 (1440407) | more than 2 years ago | (#37765128)

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Analogy (1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37766188)

Hyperlinks are about as complicit in libel as ears are complicit in slander. Both provide access to the defamation in question, but neither are the defamation itself!

Aha! (1)

mr_bigmouth_502 (1946960) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767456)

It's about time one of the higher-ups here formed a rational opinion on this!
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