The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a controversial decision by a lower court that, for the purposes of libel law, the Internet is broadcasting. On October 22, the court ruled 3-0 that Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge Helen Pierce was wrong in her April 2 decision determining that, for the purposes of Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act, the Internet is the equivalent of a regular newspaper or television station (CNM, May 1/03). In rendering its decision, the appeal court writes that “the experts’ opinions conflicted on a number of issues, including whether the word ‘dissemination’ can properly apply to information distributed by internet and whether internet publication is immediate and/or transient. Summary judgment applications are not a substitute for trial and thus will seldom prove suitable for resolving conflicts in expert testimony particularly those involving difficult, complex policy issues with broad social ramifications.” The full decision is available at http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2003/october/bahliedaC39974.htm.
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