Exposing Online Identities: Another Update

When can an internet user remain anonymous?  It depends….

As an update to our recent post about Mosher v. Coast Publishing Ltd., 2010 NSSC 153 (where the identity of anonymous comment-writers was ordered to be disclosed), the recent decision in Warman v. Wilkins-Fournier, [2010] ONSC 2126 (S.C.J.), took an opposite view. 

The recent Wilkins-Fournier decision was an appeal of an earlier decision (See: Online Defamation Update) in which the court ordered the disclosure of all personal information, including name, email and IP address, of eight anonymous posters in a defamation case.  In this new decision, the court reviewed privacy rights and freedom of expression issues, and overturned the disclosure order.  The court indicated that disclosure should not be automatic, and the plaintiff must first demonstrate a prima facie case of defamation before the disclosure of personal identities is ordered.  Interestingly, the court compared this situation to the one in BMG Canada Inc. v. John Doe, where the recording industry sought the disclosure of anonymous alleged copyright infringers. 

Calgary – 09:00 MT

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