Ruling in the ‘Warman V Free Dominion’ case – well, in one of the cases, at least…

I have reported on what I saw and heard in court during the hearing itself here.

Richard Warman is an Ottawa lawyer whose hobby appears to be using the legal system to shut up people who hold views he does not like – and the consequences be damned.  He also has frequent-flyer points on using the Human Rights commissions to persecute people he finds ‘annoying’ and many believe that it is at least in part because of the way Mr. Warman used (or, perhaps, abused) the Human Rights Code that the section he used most often, Section 13, got removed.

I suspect that Mr. Warman finds people who stand up to him to be ‘particularly annoying’.

Connie and Mark Fournier run Free Dominion, Canada’s perhaps oldest, certainly largest,  discussion forum with a conservative bend.  They have stood up to Mr. Warman and his hoard of henchmen for years.

The Fourniers have been a favourite target of the serial suer Warman.

The decision has now come down in the latest lawsuit, which will have impact on how copyright laws are interpreted not just in Canada, but to a lesser extent also in other common law countries. And, it is clearly in favour of the Fourniers and freedom of speech!!!

And, it is hitting all the internet high-sites!

From Dr. Michael Geist:

‘The court’s discussion is important for several reasons. First, the finding that several paragraphs do not constitute a substantial part of the work has echoes to the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in December when the court opened the door to questions about some of the copying in schools not rising to the level of substantial copying. Moreover, if this amount of copying is not substantial, it has implications in a wide range of additional cases (including the Access Copyright model licence). Second, the court’s conclusion is critically important to online chat forums, blogs, and other venues where copying several paragraphs from an article is quite common. Given the court’s analysis, such copying appears to be permissible on at least two grounds, including the notion that such postings can be treated as news reporting for fair dealing purposes. 

The third claim involved a link to a photograph posted on the photographer’s site. The court had no trouble concluding that the link was not copyright infringement, rightly noting that the photographer authorized the communication of the work by posting it on his website. This finding should put an end to claims that linking to copyright materials somehow raises potential legal risks. ‘

In other words, 100% in favour of the Fourniers!

And, let’s not forget – this is only one of many lawsuits the Fourniers have faced and are still facing.  They have already set legal precedents in Canada when they stood up for the privacy rights of the users of their forum!!!

The practical implication of this is that they had to represent themselves in this latest court battle.

Connie Fournier, a computer scientist with a formidable mind, had to not only research all the laws and put the case together herself, she had to learn all the ‘tricks of the trade’ on how to do it and how to do it right.  Not an easy task…

Well, she did something right!!!

From TechDirt:

‘All told, this is an excellent decision, and offers further proof that Canada has the very real potential to move copyright law in a positive direction. There are still lots of battles to be fought, but there’s also a genuine emphasis on the rights of users (especially in the courts) that can hopefully be harnessed and nurtured more and more over time.’

From boingboing:

Canadian fed court: linking isn’t copyright infringement, neither is excerpting an article

From Law 360:

‘Ottawa Federal Court Judge Donald J. Rennie ruled against attorney Richard Warman, who along with the National Post Co. had sued Free Dominion website operators Mark and Constance Fournier for having reproduced a speech Warman had written and parts of a newspaper article that had been written about him, and for linking a photograph that was…’

I’m sure there is more….

The full ruling is here.

4 Responses to “Ruling in the ‘Warman V Free Dominion’ case – well, in one of the cases, at least…”

  1. Don Sharpe Says:

    Connie & Mark Fournier have done important work here.
    Thanks for your time and effort documenting the trial!
    Let’s hope RW finds a better use for his time in future.

    Xanthippa says:

    Yes, the accolades go to the Fourniers – especially Connie who not only learned the case law and argued it eloquently, but she also had to learn how to file in proper format, and so on. Very tricky stuff…

    As for my time – it is the least I can do: they are fighting my battles for me!

    And RW? He still has many lawsuits outstanding against people he finds’annoying’ – including the Fourniers. Plus, they still have to face the full trial in the Baglow case (the ruling dismissing the case in just a hearing has bee overturned and a full trial ordered – not on the merits of the case, but because they involve flame-war on a blog and judges want to set a precedent).

  2. Observer Says:

    Connie outlawyered not only Warman who barely participated in the case but his lawyer Katz who appeared to have little energy and interest. Interesting that The National Post had a bone in this case but guess they now will have to share in the costs to the Fourniers.

    Go Girl.

    Xanthippa says: Yes – you go, girl!!!

    James Katz is a high-priced IP lawyer, working for a high-end lawfirm…

  3. Sharon Maclise Says:

    What a relief, not just for the steadfast and exceptionally courageous Fourniers but for all Canadians. This, and Marc Lemire’s win at the Kangaroo Tribunal, also against the perpetually “offended” Warman, the recent end to Section 13 of the CHRA, Ezra’s stalwart fight against the paternalistic CRTC, the success of the lobby to stop the feds from infringing on privacy rights on the internet, and other significant recent moves against the”progressive” censor gods of the pc left. Now all we have to do is help Brisson and Galganov beat off the goons in Russell Township and it will be a perfect trifecta. Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last!”

    Xanthippa says:

    It’s an important victory that the Fourniers have won for us.

    But, it is only one battle – there are still outstanding lawsuits by Warman and his minions against many good people, including the Fourniers.

    And, like you say, the battles are on many fronts.

    So, yes, let’s celebrate – but let’s not forget it’s nowhere near over.

  4. Death of the Lawfare King | Clay and Water Says:

    […] has it Richard Warman is now representing himself after having gotten rid of his lawyer. Desperate times for the […]


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