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If You Know About It, You’re the Publisher – Website Operator Liability for Defamation

The first few months of 2015 have brought some welcome direction from Canadian courts regarding the liability of operators of websites for defamatory postings on their websites made by third parties. In plain English: we’ve now got a better understanding of when, say, a newspaper publisher, independent blog writer or operator of an online discussion forum will be liable when one of their readers/participants posts a defamatory comment on the website (e.g., in the “comments” section of the newspaper’s website). Astoundingly, this was an open question in Canadian defamation law until now (it’s 2015!).

Perhaps that last editorial comment was a touch unfair. We had some indication from Canadian courts about how these matters would be handled. In Carter v. B.C. Federation of Foster Parents Assn., 2005 BCCA 398, the British Columbia Court of Appeal indicated that the operator of a website might be liable in defamation for material posted to the website once the operator received notice of the purportedly defamatory material but did not take steps to remove it; however, the Carter decision did not decide on the merits of that matter, being simply a reversal of the trial court’s summary judgment decision based on the plaintiff’s action being time-barred. (Carter is more often cited as authority for the proposition that simply pointing someone to an online destination which contains defamatory material does not make you a “publisher” of such defamatory material, a conclusion which was adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in Crookes v. Newton 2011 SCC 47, in which a majority of the Court held that merely hyperlinking to defamatory material could functionally never give rise to liability for publishing the material.) Thus, while Carter gave us an inkling of what might happen to a website operator who left defamatory material on their website after receiving notice of such material, it was not definitive authority. In the meantime, based partly on Carter and partly on cases in other jurisdictions, counsel to large website operators had taken to advising their clients to remove defamatory material after being given notice thereof.

Fast forward to 2015, and we were suddenly blessed with two cases in quick succession which explicitly considered the matter, and explicitly held that the onus is on website operators to remove defamatory material of which they are given notice – failing which they will find themselves liable. First up, Weaver v. Corcoran, 2015 BCSC 165. Many different issues were considered in Weaver, but for our purposes the salient aspect of the case was that  one of the defendants (National Post Inc.) operated multiple websites at which readers had posted comments containing material which defamed the plaintiff. The National Post argued that it was not a “publisher” of the defamatory material contained in the reader comments as they “did not have effective control over those posts”. The court in Weaver observed that the parties to the case were “of the view [that] this case raises, for the first time in Canada, the issue of whether one who operates an internet forum – in this case a reader comment area on the newspaper’s website – is liable for third-party postings”. (Oddly, the Weaver reasons never mention Carter.)

Ultimately, the court in Weaver concluded that the National Post was not liable for the content of the reader comments on the basis that the National Post had not “published” the posts due to the fact that the posts were removed from the National Post’s websites once the National Post was made aware of them. From the decision:

[273] Once the defendants became aware of the comments in the reader postings and received a complaint, they were then taken down. The volume of postings is such it would not be realistic to expect the defendant to pre-vet every posting. …

[275] I agree, as argued by the defendants, that the [English] cases appear to establish the requirement to show an active or deliberate act in making defamatory information available to establish liability. This appears to be a consistent approach in a number of English cases which have grappled with the issue. …

[284]     Until awareness occurs, whether by internal review or specific complaints that are brought to the attention of the National Post or its columnists, theNational Post can be considered to be in a passive instrumental role in the dissemination of the reader postings. It has taken no deliberate action amounting to approval or adoption of the contents of the reader posts. Once the offensive comments were brought to the attention of the defendants, however, if immediate action is not taken to deal with these comments, the defendants would be considered publishers as at that date.

[285]     In this case, while Mr. Racovali could not recall who he spoke to about having the comments removed, he testified within one or two days of receiving the complaints of the reader posts, he took steps to remove the offending reader posts. While Dr. Weaver says this evidence is not credible as Mr. Racovali did not make a note of this, I accept his evidence on this point. The reader posts were clearly offensive. There is no apparent reason for theNational Post to retain posts of such vitriolic character.

[286]     Action must immediately be taken to fulfill the responsibility not to distribute defamatory material. The evidence establishes that was done within one to two days to address that problem. In my view, that is all the defendants could realistically do in the circumstances. While the plaintiff maintains more should have been done, I am unable to agree based on the evidence before me. As technology progresses, the answer and evidence on this issue may well be different.

[287]     Due to the prompt removal of the offending reader comments once known to the defendants, I have concluded the defendants are not publishers of the reader postings. Accordingly, I do not need to deal with the defence of innocent dissemination or fair comment.

In short, the National Post could not be held liable for the defamatory content contained in its readers’ comments until the National Post became aware of such content and unless it failed to remove the offending material either “immediately” or “promptly” following receipt of notice. The message to website operators from Weaver is thus fairly straightforward: feel free to operate “unmoderated” comments sections on your website, but once you are made aware of defamatory content, you’d better act swiftly to remove that content or risk the pain of an adverse defamation judgment.

While the website operator defendant in Weaver escaped liability on the basis that they weren’t publishers of the defamatory content, in the second of our 2015 defamation decisions, the website operator defendant was found to be a publisher of the content, but escaped liability on the basis that the content constituted “fair comment”. In Baglow v. Smith, 2015 ONSC 1175, the defendants operated a “message board” or online forum in which users could post messages. Users of the forum posted messages which were eventually found to be defamatory of the plaintiff, prompting the commencement of the defamation action; in response to the action, the defendants argued that they were not the publisher of the defamatory material, but instead were merely “the distributor of content generated and posted by third parties” and that “they did not write, edit, modify or in any way participate in the writing or posting of the impugned words”.

The court in Baglow concluded that the defendants were responsible, as publishers, for the defamatory content on the basis that they were the “the moderators and administrators” of the forum, with the power to edit and delete postings made by users. The court’s reasons refer to Carter, but did little more than mention the decision, without expressly applying the principles found in it to the facts at hand in Baglow. The primary concern articulated by the court in Baglow was that allowing the defendants the type of defence they were seeking would tip defamation law’s balance between protection of reputation and freedom of expression too far in favour of the latter. Nevertheless, it seems that the conclusion in Baglow that the defendants were prima facie liable for defamation was animated by the same considerations found in Weaver (which had been released only a few weeks before Baglow).

And so, putting Weaver and Baglow together, we seem to arrive at the conclusion, informed by concerns about providing Canadians with viable mechanisms for protecting their reputations from online disparagement, that Canadian defamation law will permit website operators to operate unmoderated forums (in the sense that material can be posted by users without prior review by the website operator), but that once the operators become aware that purportedly defamatory material has been posted to their forum, they are obliged to remove it within some fairly short period of time in order to avoid defamation liability as a publisher of the material.

All that being said, significant unanswered questions remain. How much time is a defendant permitted to remove a purportedly defamatory comment? Weaver swings between using “immediately” and “promptly” to describe the time period, and ultimately concludes that “one to two days” is swift enough, even in the context of a deeply-resourced and well-staffed commercial operation; will that apply in all circumstances or might shorter or longer periods apply in other situations? What if there is a reasonable dispute about the purportedly defamatory nature of the content? Is there any “safe harbour” for a website operator to consider the matter, or are they obliged to remove the content first, and ask questions later? Are website operators obliged to maintain their websites with the technical ability to alter or delete posts, or could they shelter themselves behind a wall of technical impossibility or difficulty (in other words: what if a website operator constructed a website or forum which it impossible to alter/delete posts)?

Presumably answers to the foregoing will come in time. For now, though, Canadian lawyers can take comfort in knowing that their instinctive response to online defamation (if you know about it, you’re best to take it down) has found favour in the courts.

If You Know About It, You’re the Publisher – Website Operator Liability for Defamation

Enforceability of Depiction Releases Redux – MHR Board Game Design v CBC

Whatever else one might want to say about the CBC television series Dragons’ Den, this much is indisputable: no other television show in Canadian history has been as important for advancing the state of Canadian jurisprudence regarding the enforceability of depiction releases. In the most recent case, a lawyer who appeared on the show had his claim against the CBC dismissed on a motion for summary judgment. Depiction releases typically contain language which not only allows a producer to make use of footage and photographs of a TV show participant, but which also specifically precludes the participant from suing the producers or broadcasters of the show for any reason – one previously unsettled issue was the extent to which such language (which is generally provided to participants on a “take it or leave it” basis) would be enforced by the courts. The answer appears unambiguous: a properly drafted release will be fully enforced by the courts and there appears to be little or no ambit for an unhappy show participant to sue in the shadow of one – however, there may be some remaining glimmers of hope for unhappy TV show participants, discussed at the end of this post.

Over the last few years, Dragons’ Den has been the subject of multiple lawsuits filed by individuals who appeared on the show and who felt aggrieved at the manner in which they had been portrayed on-air. The first of these cases, which we previously discussed here and  here, was Turmel v CBC (Dragons’ Den) (see 2010 ONSC 5318 2011 ONSC 2400 and 2011 ONCA 519), wherein the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that a “depiction release” (sometimes referred to as a “participation release” or even just a “release”) signed by a participant in a “reality” TV show was enforceable against the participant to bar any claim from being advanced by the participant based on his unhappiness over his depiction (in Turmel, the plaintiff based his claim in both defamation and breach of contract).

At the end of June 2013, the Ontario courts had occasion to pronounce again on the enforceability of depiction releases, again in the context of Dragons’ Den. In the case of MHR Board Game Design Inc. v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2013 ONSC 4457, the court again held that a depiction release signed by a participant in the show was enforceable to prevent the plaintiff from advancing a claim against the broadcaster. (See news coverage here.) In MHR Board Game Design, however, the plaintiff was a lawyer and so the arguments advanced were a touch more subtle than those advanced in Turmel, and therefore worthy of additional attention.

In MHR Board Game Design, the nub of the plaintiff’s argument was that the recording of his presentation to the panel of investors who comprise the titular “Dragons” was edited in such a way as to be a complete misrepresentation of what had actually occurred – to speak colloquially, the plaintiff argued that what had been a relatively uneventful, if unsuccessful, pitch was deliberately and misleadingly edited to make it look like a fiasco had occurred. From the judgment:

[3] The essence of the plaintiffs’ claims are that the short segment of the original recording that was broadcast is not only a “complete misrepresentation” of the original recording, but that the defendant’s conduct amounted to “gross and reckless negligence, intentional misconduct, malice and bad faith”.  The plaintiffs have sued the defendant for breach of contract, defamation, breach of duty of care, and injurious falsehood.

[4] Mr. Ribeiro alleges that the specific conduct involved in this case is not within the exoneration clauses of the Consent and Release or alternatively, that it would be unconscionable or contrary to public policy to enforce its terms.  He recognizes that the Consent and Release affords a very broad editing discretion to the defendant but submits that, because the Release is so broad in its terms, the exercise of such editing discretion engages a corresponding implied duty to do so reasonably and in good faith.

The plaintiff advanced a number of arguments relating to the release. First, he argued that the release did not specifically name “defamation” as one of the precluded causes of action – the court dispatched that argument summarily, stating that the “broad language of the Consent and Release is clearly intended to cover all causes of action and it would be robbed of its effect if it did not cover negligence”.

The next argument put forth by the plaintiff was that the wording in the depiction release which stated that his “appearance, depiction and/or portrayal” in the program “may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavourable nature which may expose [him] to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation” was only intended to extend to the reactions of the Dragons, and should not be interpreted so broadly that it permitted the producers to edit the footage in a manner which would give rise to such results. The court similarly rejected that argument: because the depiction release contained language giving the CBC “the sole discretion to edit, cut, alter, rearrange or revise the sales pitch for broadcasting” and because the plaintiff therefore  “acknowledged that the program as aired would be edited in the “sole discretion” of the Producer[, he] must have understood the release extended beyond the comments of the Dragons.”

As stated by the court:

The clauses in the contract relied upon by the defendant are clear and unambiguous.  The express terms provide exceptionally broad protection for the CBC against any liability to a participant on the program.  That protection is not hidden in fine print.  It is crystal clear.

…  It is hard to imagine any stronger language than the words found in paragraphs 9 and 27 of the Consent and Release.  … I find that the Consent and Release by its express and unambiguous terms releases the defendant from every claim identified in the Statement of Claim.

As a result of that conclusion, the depiction release functioned as “a complete bar” to the plaintiff’s claims, unless it would be “unconscionable or contrary to public policy to enforce the contract or if the defendant itself breached the contract”. The court next turned its attention to whether either of those conditions had been satisfied in the court at hand – and found that they had not been satisfied. The court found that, relying on the decision in Turmel, there were no grounds for deeming the depiction release to be unconscionable, and further that no evidence had been advanced that enforcing the contract would be contrary to public policy.

The plaintiff’s final redoubt was to argue that the depiction release had been breached by the defendants and therefore could not be relied upon them as a defence. In crafting such an argument, the plaintiff was forced to acknowledge that, per the editing language noted above, there did not seem to be any express limitation on the latitude afforded to the CBC regarding editing. Instead, the plaintiff argued, the depiction release contained an “implied duty of good faith” when editing the footage – the court rejected this for a lack of evidence:

However, the evidence fails to establish any breach of the contract by the defendant.  First, even assuming an implied duty can be read into the contract, it is not self evident that the broadcast segment actually constituted a misrepresentation of Mr. Ribeiro’s sales pitch. Though the Dragons expressed interest in the game itself and enjoyed playing it, it was at the same time clear that they were unwilling to invest in its commercial viability.  Second, even assuming that the broadcast segment somehow distorted the nature of what transpired during the sales pitch, there is no evidence whatsoever to support Mr. Ribeiro’s allegation that the editing was done maliciously or recklessly.  In the final analysis there is simply no evidence to support the bald allegation of a lack of good faith in the editing exercise.

All of the above being said, while the enforceability of depiction releases seems to be relatively open-and-shut, there remain some ambiguities at the margins. It seems that the court has left open the possibility that if the plaintiff’s evidence had demonstrated that the editing constituted a “misrepresentation” of what had happened and/or that the editing had been done “maliciously or recklessly”, then there might be some scope for finding that there had been a breach of an implied covenant of good faith – however, there remains a major hurdle for a plaintiff wishing to avail themselves of that argument: it would have to be proven that the depiction release actually did contain an implied covenant of good faith. The other remaining tendril of hope is a successful argument that the enforcement of the depiction release would be contrary to public policy – the court held that the enforcement of the Dragons’ Den depiction release would not be contrary to public policy, but that seemed to be largely because the plaintiff had not advanced any arguments on that point (of course, it’s not clear that there are any cogent arguments that enforcing a depiction release could be contrary to public policy, but lawyers are a clever bunch…).

Enforceability of Depiction Releases Redux – MHR Board Game Design v CBC

Manson v John Doe – Damages for Anonymous Online Defamation

The recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Manson v John Doe (2013 ONSC 628) offers an opportunity to reflect on both the procedures and outcomes of pursuing court actions for anonymous online defamation.

The factual background to the case is relatively straightforward (if somewhat disturbing): the defendant engaged in what the court described as “an anonymous electronic campaign of libel” against the plaintiff; the “defendant” remains anonymous – as the court notes, it is unclear whether there is one defendant or multiple defendants and it remains unclear where the defendant(s) are located. The campaign of defamation included multiple defamatory posts on multiple blogs hosted by various different service providers, and even an email from a Gmail account which contained links to the posts and which was sent to the plaintiff’s work colleagues and superiors. Despite efforts to identify the defendant(s) (including by means of motions to compel the online service providers to disclose the contact details of the individual(s) who had created the accounts which were used and court orders requiring the defendant(s) to identify themselves), the plaintiff and his lawyer were unable to do so.That inability proved somewhat daunting when it came to serving notice of the court action on the defendant – but the plaintiff was able to get the court to validate service via email (2011 ONSC 4663).

Thus, in its way, the case provides a precedent for how to proceed against anonymous online defamatory content: work to get the ISPs to remove the content; work to get the ISPs to provide information in an effort to identify the defendant; attempt service of process via email (which needs to be validated by the court); bring actions against the anonymous defendant and continue with them until you have obtained (default) judgment.

Of perhaps even more interest is the measure of damages which the court awarded. First, it is worth highlighting that the court’s remarks about the content of the defamatory posts:

Even though, with over 200,000 words, the English language is not entirely adequate to describe the nature of many of the posts, some adjectives that do spring to mind include shocking, disgusting, outrageous, racist, provocative.

In other words, this was, to use the colloquial, bad stuff – not “technically” or borderline defamatory, but real, honest-to-goodness defamatory smearing of an individual.

The court awarded damages as follows:

  • general damages (for harm to reputation) – $100,000
  • aggravated damages (recognizing that the defendant never apologized for or retracted the statements, continued to make defamatory statements even after the initial filing of the statement of claim and actively forwarded the links to the plaintiff’s co-workers) – $50,000
  • punitive damages – $50,000

Thus, for a campaign of defamation involving “shocking, disgusting, outrageous, racist and provocative” statements, a total of $200,000 in damages was awarded. (The court also awarded the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s legal costs in the amount of $49,965.89.) It is also worth noting that the court made explicit mention of the fact that the plaintiff is a lawyer in awarding $100,000 in general damages, citing the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Hill v Church of Scientology, [1995] 2 SCR 1130, in which the court observed that “for all lawyers their reputation is of paramount importance” – the implication being that a plaintiff who was not a member of the bar might not be able to avail themselves of damages in that amount, which is a troubling conclusion, since it indicates that lawyers constitute some kind of protected class when it comes to defamation actions.

Manson v John Doe – Damages for Anonymous Online Defamation

Court Provides SLAPP Relief – But Not Enough

In 2010, Ontario’s Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel released released its Report to the Attorney-General.  (A “SLAPP” is a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” – a lawsuit intended to silence criticism by employing a strategy of financial attrition via legal action, usually involving a plaintiff with more significant financial resources than the defendant(s).)  The Report recommended that Ontario adopt “anti-SLAPP” legislation – a recommendation which the government has never acted upon.  The recent decision of a Master in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Morris v. Johnson, 2012 ONSC 5824 indicates that Ontario courts may be prepared to offer SLAPP relief even in the absence of legislation.  Unfortunately, despite this promising development, the need for anti-SLAPP legislation continues.

The relevant facts of Morris v Johnson are relatively simple: the mayor of a town commenced a defamation action against a number of defendants in connection with highly critical blog posts and comments made during an election period.  At least one of the defendants settled with the plaintiff and some defendants were never properly served – in any event, the plaintiff discontinued the action approximately one year after commencing it, and two of the defendants subsequently brought a motion seeking recovery of their legal costs in defending against the action.

In making the motion for costs, the defendant’s argued that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was a “SLAPP”, and the master concluded as follows:

[28] I infer from these facts that Mayor Morris was not prepared to wait and see if a demand letter would have the desired effect of silencing Johnson, Hogg and Bishenden, and not prepared to wait until her lawyers prepared a statement of claim.  In my view, Mayor Morris wanted to hit Johnson, Hogg and Bishenden quickly and hard, in order to silence them as her critics sooner rather than later in the weeks leading up to the October 25, 2010 municipal elections.

[29] I have therefore come to the conclusion that this action is indeed SLAPP litigation.

In light of that conclusion, the master awarded “special enhanced” costs, but not full indemnity costs.

There are a number of factors which limit the authority of the decision and which indicate why the innovation it evidences should not be viewed as a substitute for anti-SLAPP legislation.   It is a master’s decision; and the plaintiff did not file any affidavit in response to the motion and did not appear as a witness in connection with the motion.  More substantively, the point of anti-SLAPP legislation is to short-circuit defamation actions which have the effect of unjustifiably impeding public criticisms – SLAPP suits work not just because the initial delivery of a statement of claim or notice of libel action frightens off defendants, but because the prospect of a prolonged and expensive litigation battle dampens participation.  The process of defamation litigation is, in essence, the punishment envisioned by a SLAPP suit.  Inherent in the notion of a SLAPP suit is a disparity in the resources of the plaintiff and the defendant(s) – analytically, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to describe a deep-pocketed defendant as being subjected to a SLAPP suit.

Because Morris v Johnson is a costs order, while certainly helpful for defendants subjected to SLAPP suits, it fails to provide a solution which obviates the damaging power of SLAPP suits from the outset.  The facts here were quite specific and favourable to the defendants – the plaintiff dropped the action and even while it was “alive” didn’t seem to pursue it with much vigour.  But if the action had gone through to trial, and the plaintiff had still lost, and the defendants had still won their costs order, it still would not have been regarded as a victory against SLAPP lawsuits, since the dissuasion of the defendants (and of future defendants) would have occurred by the very fact that the lawsuit moved forward.  The proposals in the Anti-SLAPP Report go much further in achieving the goal of limiting the intimidation factor of SLAPP suits, and so they remain something which should be implemented.

Court Provides SLAPP Relief – But Not Enough

Baglow v Smith: Appeal Court Sets Aside Summary Judgment and Orders Trial

A further development in what could become a precedent-setting case involving online political discourse and blogs: the Ontario Court of Appeal has set aside the order of summary judgment in Baglow v Smith and has directed the action to proceed to trial.  The Court of Appeal decision (Baglow v. Smith, 2012 ONCA 407) can be found here and the set-aside lower court decision (Baglow v. Smith, 2011 ONSC 5131) can be found here.  Previous discussion at the Signal regarding this case can be found here and here.

To recap: the case is noteworthy because it concerns the nature of a defamatory statement in the context of political blogging.  In this dispute, the plaintiff sued for defamation as a result of being described as a supporter of the Taliban.  The case has a somewhat peculiar procedural history: the initial decision of the court to award summary judgment to the defendant (discussed in detail here) seemed to be based on a determination that the purportedly defamatory words were not actually capable of defamatory meaning (i.e., “not capable of damaging the reputation of the plaintiff” [para. 58]), a conclusion which seemed to be largely informed by the context in which the defamatory words had taken place: namely, online political blogs and moderated forums.  As I mentioned at the time of the initial decision:

it demonstrates the continued advance of the tendency of courts to take full account of the context in which allegedly defamatory comments are made. At the risk of over-simplifying the matter, the court’s decision can be summarized as this: there is something meaningfully different about online statements, particularly those which are made on political blogs and discussion forums, which militates that they be treated differently for purposes of defamation law. Put somewhat differently (and, again, with the qualification that this over-simplifies matters): impugning someone’s name on the broadcast evening news is different from impugning their name on a blog.

The same judge, however, in the decision regarding the awarding of costs (discussed here), indicated that his initial decision had been somewhat misconstrued – though as I pointed out at the time, even in the clarification the judge stressed that his conclusion as to the lack of defamatory meaning “rested principally on the ambiguous nature of the term “supporter” such that in the general context of the blogging dialogue … the comment did not meet the threshold for establishing defamation” [emphasis added].

Nevertheless, whatever the proper interpretation of the decision to grant summary judgment, it has now been set aside by the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the matter ordered to trial.  The critical elements of the appellate decision:

  • because the dispute raises “important issues” regarding defamation on the web (particularly “in the relatively novel milieu of internet defamation in the political blogosphere”), the matter is not one which is suitable for determination on a motion for summary judgment – in other words, a full trial is warranted
  • as a general matter, “novel questions of law … in defamation matters ought … to be determined at a trial”
  • the question of whether the impugned words were defamatory requires cross-examination of the concerned parties and “possibly expert testimony”
  • displaying their usual dry wit, the judges note that expert testimony may be needed “to provide the court – whose members are perhaps not always the most up-to-date in matters involving the blogosphere – with insight into how the internet blogging world functions and what may or may not be the expectations and sensibilities of those who engage in such discourse in the particular context in which that discourse occurs”
  • the appellate decision also takes particular time to reject a possible implication of the trial decision, namely that an absence of rejoinder on a participatory forum can lead to a conclusion that a particular statement was not defamatory (in other words, a rule saying that a failure to respond to a slur somehow constituted a waiver of rights in respect of that slur could be a very dangerous rule indeed)

I will close with this extensive quote from the appellate decision, since it provides a flavour of the types of issues which are engaged in this case:

“[27] In this case, the parties have put in play a scenario that, to date, has received little judicial consideration:an allegedly defamatory statement made in the course of a robust and free-wheeling exchange of political views in the internet blogging world where, the appellant concedes, arguments “can be at times caustic, strident or even vulgar and insulting.” Indeed, some measure of what may seem to be a broad range of tolerance for hyperbolic language in this context may be taken from the apparent willingness of the appellant to absorb the slings and arrows of the “traitor” and “treason” labels without complaint.

[28] Nonetheless, although the respondents come close to asserting – but do not quite assert – that “anything goes” in these types of exchanges, is that the case in law? Do different legal considerations apply in determining whether a statement is or is not defamatory in these kinds of situations than apply to the publication of an article in a traditional media outlet? For that matter, do different considerations apply even within publications on the internet – to a publication on
Facebook or in the “Twitterverse”, say, compared to a publication on a blog?”

Stay tuned!

Baglow v Smith: Appeal Court Sets Aside Summary Judgment and Orders Trial