Canadian Internet Law Resource Page (CILRP)

 

This was a Canadian Internet Law Resource site maintained for a number of years by Professor Michael Geist the University of Ottawa Law School.
This site included information on case law, legislation, government reports, conferences, and other resources. However in 2001 the message below appeared on the home page.

Content is from the site's 2000 archived pages and was preserved by UMV and used as course material for Dr. Pellington's seminars on International Law. In particular one of the seminar's focus is on a case involving a Baltimore moving company's claim to hold rights of passage across the border with Canada through a long held contractual relationship with a Canadian business. Although the actual records of the case are still under discovery, Pellington's team references this archive to demonstrate the complexity of international law governing US & Canadian interests

This site was last updated September 10, 2001.

A Message from the original / former owner of the site:

NOTE: THIS SITE HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED FOR MANY MONTHS. QUITE SIMPLY, I HAVEN'T HAD THE TIME. WHILE MANY OF THE LINKS WILL STILL WORK, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT SOME WON'T AS MANY FALL STALE. SORRY.

Welcome to the Canadian Internet Law Resource Page (CILRP). Maintained by Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa Law School, the site provides complete coverage of Internet law in Canada.

 

MEDIA

 

Jewelry firm files suit for harm done to his business by local school project.

John Jackaby for the Mountain View Press, 21 Sept. 1998

 

The Lovett School for Disabled Children was named in a lawsuit filed by Pane Jewelry for infringing on trademarked items for which the company had the exclusive distribution rights. The items in question were also being sold as part of a fund-raising project by the school which is located in the same neighborhood as the jewelry store. The items in question include specialty rings and designer chokers (aka choker collar necklaces). The company claims that the choker collar necklaces were unique and that the school obtained the products illegally through a parent connection with the manufacturer. The school argues that the jewelry was manufactured in China and that there were no unique or proprietary contractual conditions that were violated.

 

 

Former worker's web site leads to a lawsuit

First case of its kind

Susan Heinrich, Financial Post
8th December 1998

Canada's largest mutual fund company is suing a former employee for $450,000, claiming he is slandering the firm on his home-grown Internet site.

Winnipeg-based Investors Group Inc. is suing Douglas Hudson, a Montreal-based fund salesman. It says his Web site attacks the company's reputation.

Tomorrow, a Montreal court will decide whether Mr. Hudson should immediately have to amend the Web site, or it will schedule a hearing at a later date.

If it proceeded to trial, the case would be a first because the issue of Internet slander is uncharted territory in Canada, said Michaelt Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa.

"In Canada there haven't been any [slander] cases in connection with the Internet. You have seen several cases in the U.S. where people took action against the Internet service provider," he said.

Although the theory has not been tested, Mr. Geist believes existing rules that apply to slander would apply to a situation of slander on a Web site.

Mr. Hudson said his intention is not to attack the reputation of Investors Group, but to tell his story. "I think the Web site is in the public interest," he said. He believes he was treated unfairly by Investors Group and wants to "warn others by telling them my story."

Terry Wright, general counsel at Investors Group, said, "We are not asking that the Web site be removed entirely, but that it be amended to not be defamatory to our company and that it be truthful. We are not trying to limit his freedom of speech."

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a story about an unhappy former employee who believes he was treated unfairly and has spent about $35,000 on legal bills trying to prove it.

Mr. Hudson said he was fired in July, 1997, because of a personality conflict with his branch manager and a fellow employee. He also believes he should be able to pursue the business of clients whom he used to represent at Investors Group.

He worked for the company in a Montreal branch for about 3-1/2 years as a mutual fund salesman administering about $4-million in client assets. He is now selling mutual funds for another company in Montreal.

A contract he signed with Investors Group after he joined prevented him from within two years of his leaving the firm.

"I spent three years bringing in everyone I knew as a client, my family and my friends." But if you are fired "you can't speak to these people again for two years," he said.

Mr. Hudson said he was not told of the contract until some time after he had joined the firm and had already made his first sale. "I was told if I didn't sign it I wasn't going to get paid," he said. "I had bills to pay so I did."

But a judgment by a Quebec court on the wrongful dismissal suit in April upheld the agreement that kept him from pursuing the business of former clients. It also found that Mr. Hudson was terminated because he did not comply with the company rules.

Mr. Hudson is appealing the decision.

It was after the court judgment that Mr. Hudson decided to put up a Web site, in order to warn others on the contracts that advisers sign, he said. "I decided I was not going to remain silent for another four years waiting for the appeal to be heard."

Investors Group manages about $33.66-billion in mutual funds.

+++

Defame Game Serious in Canada

Charles Mandel 
09.14.00

EDMONTON, Alberta: Canadian e-mailers can no longer hide behind a cloak of anonymity if reasonable grounds exist to show they've distributed defamatory statements over the Internet.

The change in Canadian law came after a landmark court ruling this week when an Ontario Superior Court Justice ordered Internet service provider iPRIMUS Inc. of Toronto to reveal the identity of an anonymous e-mailer.

The e-mailer is alleged to have defamed George Irwin, the president of Irwin Toys Ltd., Canada's largest toy manufacturer.

In August, the e-mailer circulated an email to about 70 employees of the company criticizing George Irwin. The e-mail also included as an attachment a number of confidential company files.

Randy Pepper, a litigation partner with the Toronto firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt and Irwin's lawyer, filed a statement of claim for general, punitive and aggravated damages worth CN$1.5 million in August. However, after the email address turned out to house an alias, Pepper turned to the courts for recourse.

Justice John Wilkins' ruling specifies that reasons to compel an ISP to give up the identity of an anonymous emailer must go beyond a spurious statement of claim, and that the plaintiff must demonstrate a legitimate reason for obtaining a court order.

Robert Belliveau, vice-president of external affairs for iPRIMUS, called Wilkins' court ruling balanced. "I don't think his judgement is unreasonable," Belliveau said.

He wouldn't comment whether the e-mailer's account was still active, but did say the company would not take any action itself because it might be construed as making a judgement. "We're not in the business of exercising such judgement," he said.

Belliveau dismissed any idea that Canadian ISP customers might be concerned over the ruling. "I think Internet subscribers generally can rest assured that their anonymity and their confidential customer data will remain such until such time as disclosure is warranted."

Not everyone is reassured, however. David Renardson, a spokesman with PrivacyX.com, called the ruling worrisome. Vancouver, British Columbia-based PrivacyX.com provides an encrypted, anonymous email service to some 65,000 customers.

Renardson said he's concerned that e-mail users might have their identities revealed without any notice from ISPs. "There's a warrant there, but I feel uncomfortable that there's a kind of unreasonable search and seizure here that you have no notice of," he said.

Belliveau confirmed that iPRIMUS did not inform the subscriber of its decision to comply with the court ruling and hand the individual's name over to Irwin's lawyers. "It's not in our terms of condition," he said.

Pepper bristled at the notion that e-mailers should be able to stay anonymous. "I don't see why someone should be able to hide behind a mask and then effectively break the law," he said. "How possibly can that be condoned in a civilized society?"

The change to the Canadian law brings it more in line with other jurisdictions. In the United States, probable cause must be determined before a court order will be issued. As in Canada, ISPs do not need to inform the client they are passing along information.

Ari Schwartz, a policy analyst at the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, said currently in the U.S. the offline standards for defamation are applied to the Internet. "Right now, there's very little protection for the individual," he noted.

In the United Kingdom, following a case involving the ISP Demon Internet, the law now states that an ISP may be held responsible itself if it refuses to delete defamatory postings from BBSs.

"My expectation would be the law in Ontario would follow the law in the U.K, because our libel and slander traditions are closer to the English law than (they are) to U.S. law," Pepper said.

 

+++

Dot-ca rules embarrass Canada

MARK EVANS
Thursday, April 13, 2000

For the time being, I am the proud owner of the domain name http://www.research.ca.

It took some time and a fair bit of bureaucratic maneuvering to get it, but when I launch my Web site, research.ca will be my calling card to the world.

There's a problem, however, with research.ca: I skirted the rules to get it.

To meet the cumbersome requirements, I told the registrar that I have offices in more than one province. There is my Toronto office, which is legitimate. Then there's my office in Whitehorse, which is really a bedroom at my sister's house. I rented space from her and on those infrequent occasions that I visit Whitehorse, I work there.

It's a stretch, but according to the dot-ca rules, I've done nothing wrong.

In fact, my claim to a dot-ca name is a lot more legitimate than thousands of other people who own dot-ca names, but don't operate a business. Many dot-ca owners are just cybersquatters who have registered addresses in the hope that someone will pay them a lot of money for them.

The volunteers that administer the dot-ca system are, in theory, supposed to limit dot-ca addresses to legitimate organizations and holders of registered trademarks. The system is designed to be the antithesis of the dot-com process, where it's pretty much first come, first served.

The sad reality, however, is that the dot-ca system is an embarrassment to Canada's status as an Internet leader. For the past three years, there have been continual promises of a much-needed overhaul, but nothing has happened.

In the meantime, savvy entrepreneurs will continue to exploit its deficiencies. A good example is Alex Libbus, who registered http://www.ebay.ca last year. Mr. Libbus followed the rules to register the address. His company, Ebay Software Technologies, has offices in Nova Scotia and Toronto, although neither office has a telephone listing. Yet the company is a registered proprietorship under the dot-ca regulations.

If the dot-ca rules were based on common sense, Mr. Libbus should not have been granted ebay.ca. It is obvious that the name belongs to eBay Inc., the world's largest on-line auction house. eBay, however, was beaten to the punch by Mr. Libbus and, for whatever reason, his application was approved.

Earlier this year, eBay demanded that Dave Darchangelo, an "Internet real estate entrepreneur" in Kelowna, B.C., hand over the address http://www.ebaycanada.ca. Mr. Darchangelo was worried about the legal bills if he got into a fight with eBay. eBay has asked Mr. Libbus for ebay.ca, but he's keeping it.

If eBay wants ebay.ca, it could buy it from Mr. Libbus or take legal action. It should not have to do either -- the address should never have been granted to anyone but eBay.

A new set of dot-ca rules are scheduled to be unveiled in June, but it will be a case of too little, too late. Like a creaky boat leaking water, there are too many holes in the current system, which should have been fixed years ago.

Sadly, the dot-ca system reflects the glacial pace of bureaucratic change within Canada's Internet industry. By the time things get done, it's time to play catch up.

In the meantime, people like myself and Mr. Libbus will get the names we want. We may not be following the spirit of the dot-ca rules, but that's what happens when you have a system that is flawed and out of date. 
Mark Evans can be reached at 
mevans@globeandmail.ca

 

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