‘Sharing’ libelous material on internet is not same as ‘Publishing’, Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada states that sharing libelous material on the internet is not same as publishing the libelous material itself. The judgment will reduce uncertainties that holding someone responsible for how they use hyperlinks on websites, private or commercial, is not rational.

The court announced: “Such an approach promotes expression and respects the realities of the Internet, while creating little or no limitations to a plaintiff’s ability to vindicate his or her reputation.”

Moreover, another matter under discussion was how to protect reputation in the era of internet when content is shared with the quick click of a button. The case under scrutiny was strictly observed by civil liberty groups and media organizations due to its prospective impact.

In a unanimous verdict, the court supported the opinion about a potential chilling effect.

Supreme Court of Canada held: “The internet cannot, in short, provide access to information without hyperlinks. 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. The potential ‘chill’ in how the internet functions could be devastating, since primary article authors would unlikely want to risk liability for linking to another article over whose changeable content they have no control. “

Article viewed on: Oye! Times at www.oyetimes.com 

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