entries filed under 'lawyer' tag:
posted by Odin on Aug 04, 2009
'Dog Park' by dmealiffe, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
Recently I read an article in the Gazette talking about a dog owner that lost a court case against a breeder in Ontario for comments he made on an online pets community.
Back in 2004 and 2005, Lorie Gordon made several negative comments on www.pets.ca against the Paws R Us Kennel, a family-run business based in Shawville, Ontario. She was commenting on the poor health of a black Labrador retriever she bought from the kennel.
On July 22nd, Gordon was found guilty of defamation and slandering by the Ontario Superior Court, and was ordered to pay $10,000 in damages to the owners, as well as $4,000 in legal proceedings.
I find this news pretty troubling, especially since SeekOdin contains several comments that may be considered “slander". Moreover, SeekOdin actually allows users to post anonymously, which makes tracing the authors more difficult (although we do keep track of IP addresses, so maybe the ISP can track the internet surfer using this information along with the date/time of the post).
Most other sites require registration using an email address before being able to participate. I decided against that for SeekOdin, precisely because I wanted to encourage honest and truthful comments, whether favorable or unfavorable. I believe that a lot of people might withhold on negative comments if they were required to provide their identities and email addresses.
I don't know about everyone else, but I find this ruling goes against “freedom of speech". If things keep going this way, we're going to end up with a whole bunch of online communities with nothing but positive reviews. Not very useful to anyone if you want my opinion!
I would personally like to protect the identity and anonymity of everyone that participated on SeekOdin. I want them (as well as myself) to stay out of trouble. Any lawyers out there have any tips to give me? Am I risking legal pursuit by allowing anonymous participation? Feel free to answer in the comments (I know you guys are expensive, but maybe you can make an exception this one time)...
about the blog
MTLRants© is Seek Odin's brand new blog, bringing you entries from our staff and other contributors. The blog will cover topics and issues related to SeekOdin's central themes. Mostly, it will deal with the difficulties and frustrations of dealing with service-related businesses in Montreal.
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