I have posted previously on this blog and on YouTube videos on the case of Crookes v Newton as soon as I read about it and its disturbing implications for free speech.
I havn’t seen very much coverage of the case! This started me wondering why?
As reported on p2pnet “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality“, former Canadian prime minister Wilfred Laurier once said. To keep it that way, it has to be made crystal clear to wealthy Vancouver businessman Wayne Crookes that he can’t use Canada’s legal system to shut the net down because of something he doesn’t like.
He says linking to a post is the same as publishing it and he’s suing me because he claims I linked and in the process, defamed him.
It’s arrant rubbish, but his contention has gone all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, where it’s due to be heard on December 7.
If he wins, that’ll be the end of an open and free internet in Canada”, I said last week, going on, “Instead, it’ll become an empty space where people are afraid to hyperlink, or connect to each other, for fear of being sued by another Crookes. And the repercussions will echo around the world.”
Crookes v Newton will be one of the most significant cases relating to freedom of speech on the internet. If a person can’t post a hyperlink on their website in an article on free speech what can they do? How can one call it a democracy if you cannot report on the law and name a litigant in a suit or merely post a reference to it for readers to read if they choose?
Can you imagine the Supreme Court of Canada finding that linking to an article is the same as publishing it and that linking to an allegedly defamatory article can therefore constitute defamation?
It has the potential to reframe internet libel and make Internet publishers refrain from posting links on their website, thus chilling free speech.
It makes me wonder why this important precedent hasn’t been more widely published in the mainstream press!
Where is everyone who is concerned about freedom of speech on the internet??