By Kevin O'Keefe

Social media host liability for user-generated content : Canada blog law

From Rob Hyndman, “In one of the first cases of its kind in Canada, and what could be the first case to go the distance (based at least on the deep pockets of one defendant), Google, Wikipedia and Openpolitics.ca are being sued in BC for libel based on user-generated content.”

Rob’s take is a sensible one, and the rule of the land in the States.

The guy is quoted as saying: ‘I’m determined that the people who have acted so irresponsibly will find that there are consequences.’ That’s nice… but if that’s the case, why isn’t he actually suing those responsible? He’s suing the tools providers. Does he sue the phone company if someone says something bad about him over the phone? There’s simply no reason to sue the tools providers instead of those actually responsible. The end result, of course, is that he’s only going to get a lot more attention drawn to the fact that a lot of people don’t think very highly of him and expressed that opinion in online forums. That hardly seems likely to improve his reputation.

In the U.S., there’s no liability for the hosts of social media per the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

Effectively provides immunity for defamation claims arising out of third parties posting content to a blog or website.

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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