Archive for the ‘media’ Category

From the Censorious Criminal Libel Files (Canada Edition)

December 11, 2012



BCCLA demands watchdog investigate RCMP actions against critic | BC Civil Liberties Association.:


New information in unsealed court documents has the BCCLA demanding an investigation into the RCMP for seizing the computers of a man who says he was helping unhappy RCMP members post their concerns online. On August 18, 2012, Grant Wakefield’s computers and cell phone were seized in a joint RCMP Major Crime and New Westminster Police Department operation.

The RCMP has confirmed that Wakefield was the informant whose information and photographs started high profile code of conduct and criminal investigations into Port Coquitlam RCMP officer Jim Brown’s activities. Simultaneously, Wakefield was also anonymously assisting disgruntled members of the RCMP to run a blog called the “Re-Sergence Alliance” blog, a blog that posted alleged RCMP front line member concerns about RCMP management and policy online.


The BCCLA adds:


“We’re asked to believe the RCMP used the resources of their major crime section, computer forensics team, the Federal Department of Justice, and a search warrant, to investigate what amounts to conspiracy theories posted in the comment section of an erotic blog and a Twitter account with thirteen followers,” said Eby. “Defamatory comments are made every day on the internet, and the RCMP doesn’t send their major crime team to investigate. What makes this case unique is that the man who had his computers taken away by the police was using those computers to help unhappy RCMP members publish their concerns online.”

The BCCLA is demanding the Commission for Public Complaints investigate the entire RCMP operation against Grant Wakefield, and has written to them to file a complaint.

Click here to read the unsealed court documents >>

Click here to read the BCCLA’s letter to the Commission for Public Complaints >>


The decision of P. D. Gulbransen, J. partially unsealing the RCMP search warrant is reported at B.C. Civil Liberties Association v. Regina, 2012 BCPC 406 (CanLII).


Criminalization of defamation is a pernicious form of libel chill and is anathema to a free and democratic society.  It is high time for the archaic and illiberal criminal offence of defamatory libel to be relegated to the dustbin of legal history.


Bread and Circuses

April 11, 2012

Yesterday, I watched, with an equal measure of bewilderment and horror, a press conference held by two lawyers, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, in Sanford, Florida. In case you don’t own a television or avoid the Internet, you probably  heard about or saw the media event that unfolded like a giant circus tent.  (more…)

Supreme Court of Canada: ISP’s not subject to Federal Broadcasting Act

February 9, 2012
Current CRTC insignia

Image via Wikipedia

In Reference re Broadcasting Act, 2012 SCC 4, the Supreme Court of Canada today affirmed the Federal Court of Appeal ruling that retail Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) do not carry on, in whole or in part, “broadcasting undertakings” subject to the Broadcasting Act when, in their role as ISPs, they provide access through the Internet to “broadcasting” requested by end‑users. (more…)

David Rolph, “Corporations’ Right to Sue for Defamation: An Australian Perspective”

October 6, 2011

David Rolph (University of Sydney – Faculty of Law) has posted “Corporations’ Right to Sue for Defamation: An Australian Perspective”, Entertainment Law Review, Vol. 22, pp. 195-200, 2011/Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/51. Here is the abstract:

As the United Kingdom undergoes defamation law reform, it might be useful to consider recent Australian developments. Across Australia, since 2006, corporations have had the right to sue for defamation severely curtailed. After five years of operation, it is possible to make an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of this reform. This article analyses recent cases in which corporations have been forced to rely on alternative causes of action, which previously would have been dealt with as defamation claims. It argues that the reform is sound as a matter of principle and policy but that the particular form of the legislative provision requires refinement. In addition, this article points out that there have been unintended and undesirable consequences to this reform.

Download a copy of the paper via SSRN here.

Noel Hampson, “Hacktivism, Anonymous & a New Breed of Protest in a Networked World”

October 4, 2011
Anonymous is Friendly?

Image by liryon via Flickr

Noah Hampson (Boston College Law School) has posted “Hacktivism, Anonymous & a New Breed of Protest in a Networked World”, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Forthcoming. The abstract reads:

This paper explores the existing legal regimes in the US and the UK governing hacktivism,. It argues for First Amendment protection for a narrow subset of certain forms of hacktivism.

Download the paper via SSRN here.

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