BCCLA to argue internet free speech case in Supreme Court

Ottawa – On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, the BCCLA will argue before the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Crookes v. Newton that the owners of websites generally should not be held legally liable for hyperlinking to defamatory sites on the internet. The BCCLA is an intervener in the case. The Crookes case offers the Supreme Court its first opportunity to consider whether and when hyperlinking to defamatory material – defamatory material hosted by someone else, elsewhere on the internet – amounts to publication for the purposes of a claim in defamation.

The BCCLA will argue that in order to protect freedom of expression, a website author should only be found liable for defamation if he or she knowingly adopts or endorses defamatory material on the hyperlinked site. The BCCLA will argue that if the courts treat hyperlinking as publication for the purposes of defamation, it will have a chilling effect on expressive activity and discourage the interlinking that gives the internet its vitality.

The BCCLA is represented by Roy W. Millen, Paul B. Schabas and Jon Goheen of Blakes, Cassels & Graydon LLP. The argument they filed in the case is available here

What: Supreme Court of Canada will hear oral arguments in Crookes v. Newton.

When: Oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada begin on December 7, 2010 at 9 a.m. EST.

Where: Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Who: Counsel for the BCCLA, Roy W. Millen, and Grace Pastine, BCCLA Litigation Director, will be available for comment at the numbers listed below.

MEDIA CONTACTS Roy W. Millen, Counsel for the BCCLA: 604-631-4220
Grace Pastine, BCCLA Litigation Director: [email protected] or 604-630-9751