WE CAN’T DO IT ALONE
For the past five years, we have often found ourselves standing on the front lines protecting our internet, virtually alone, and that has been a very difficult journey.
Watch Brian Lilley’s commentary on our story on Sun TV’s Byline (starting at 0.43). Please like and share the video!
As operators of one of the largest discussion forums in Canada, Free Dominion, we have repeatedly found ourselves on the front lines in legal battles that have had enormous implications for internet freedom, personal privacy and free speech. When cases like these come up, it is critically important that they be fought in such a way that results in good legal precedents being set. For this reason, we have fought hard for your freedom at every opportunity.
Our legal cases have, so far, resulted in some excellent case law that protects internet users. Here is what we have done so far:
1) Plaintiffs must now show that they have a real case of defamation, and a judge must consider free speech factors before the private information of anonymous posters can be demanded from website operators. This precedent has already been used in another case to successfully protect anonymous political posters from a threatening mayor.
2) Excerpts from a copyrighted article are not considered a copyright violation. (This point and the following two points were part of this decision.)
3) The “user’s rights” of blogs and forums are now given liberal consideration as these sites can now take advantage of a “news reporting” exemption for copyright purposes.
4) Links to copyrighted material are not considered to be violations of copyright (even if the links display a picture on a different site).
5) Internet flame wars should not result in a successful defamation complaint when one flamer chooses to leave the online debate and file a lawsuit. This is vitally important to website operators who allow comments because, in Canada, they are liable for what others post on their sites.
Precedent 5 above, however, is under threat, and we are being forced back into court to protect and verify it, and to, hopefully, expand protection of internet commenters and website operators while we are there.