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Infamous leftwing creep John Baglow (a.k.a. ‘Dr Dawg’) loses badly — big legal win for Canadian bloggers

Finally: it sounds like the legal establishment is coming around to my “hockey fight” view of the blogosphere — fights on the ice are excused and even encouraged, even though the same fight would get the players charged if they happened on the sidewalk outside the arena.

The blogosphere has its own rules and standards.

This is great news for FreeDominion, my co-defendants in our separate, ongoing legal battle.

From the decision:

[58] Although I am satisfied that the words complained are not capable of damaging the reputation of the plaintiff, I am of the view that there is another contextual factor that would further bolster this conclusion, namely that the alleged defamatory words were made in the context of an ongoing blogging thread over the Internet.

 [59] Internet blogging is a form of public conversation. By the back and forth character it provides an opportunity for each party to respond to disparaging comments before the same audience in immediate or a relatively contemporaneous time frame.

 [60] This distinguishes the context of blogging from other forms of publication of defamatory statements. One exception could be the live debate, of which blogging constitutes the modem written form.

 [61] I am not suggesting that defamation can never occur in a live debate. I do say however, that the live debate forum should be considered as a contextual factor to determine whether the statement is defamatory in so far as whether it is complete.

[…]

 [64] More importantly to the issue of context, the blogging audience is expecting and would indeed want to hear a rejoinder of this nature where the parry and thrust of the debaters is appreciated as much as the substance of what they say.

Mark Lemire writes:

The Libel and Slanders laws in the province of hopelessly out of date.  The Internet has brought a whole new level of communication and the Libel and Slander Laws needs to be updates to reflect this new reality.  Recent court decisions have found that a defamation of the Internet is huge because it could “reach the entire world”.  Of course this is nonsense and ignores the reality of the Internet and it’s interactive nature.  Censors love to shut down debate using any laws possible – and sadly the libel and slander laws have been used to threaten and harass many Canadians.

It’s time the Libel and Slander Act be updated – where strict proof of reputational damage is shown prior to a lawsuit proceeding.   Actual damages should be needed, not the current pixie dust style formula which sides with the plaintiff that a mere claim of damages is implied just due to filing of the lawsuit.


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