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!!!
‘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 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….