Wednesday, March 19, 2014

FREEDOMINION: Defamation Law is strangling the Internet




From FreeDominion:



Defamation Law is strangling the Internet


As long time bloggers and forum hosts (13 years so far), we recently finished a long battle against Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) that resulted in the Canadian Parliament repealing the section.


Defamation law is becoming every bit as dangerous for Canadian internet users as Section 13 was!

Defamation law says that a statement is defamatory if it "tends to lower the esteem of the subject in the minds of the ordinary members of the public".
As you can see, that could apply to any remark viewed by the subject as negative.

Once an action is filed, you have to incur the legal costs of making a defence or accept whatever verdict and penalty the court may decide to impose.

If you are a forum or blog owner and the comment was made by an anonymous poster, you have no defence of "fair comment" because you are not allowed to give "opinion" evidence of the state of mind of the poster or to state what facts the poster relied on. You are effectively taken to task for not censoring the commentary of a third person and not allowed to defend yourself.  

You are 100% responsible.

If an anonymous poster makes comment on your blog and someone sues you for it, you can lose everything you have...even if you remove the allegedly offending words or post from your site.


Operating a blog or forum and allowing readers to post their opinions should not lead to financial ruin or put a person's entire future at risk.  As the Ontario Civil Liberties Association recently stated, the Tort of Defamation needs to be abolished.  We will fight on both of these fronts.

We must appeal this decision, and we have two other hearings coming up before the end of March.  We desperately need help with our legal expenses so we can keep up our fight for freedom of speech on the internet!



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