Allegedly Defamatory Review Found not to Relate to a Matter of Public Interest

Josef FinkelBusiness Defamation, Civil Liability, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Internet Defamation, Libel, Online Defamation, Slander0 Comments

In Echelon Environmental Inc. v. Glassdoor Inc., 2022 ONCA 391, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) dismissed the appellant’s appeal from a decision of the motion judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in which the motion judge denied the appellant’s request to dismiss the respondent’s defamation action under s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act (“Act”), known as the “anti-SLAPP” provision of the Act. The appeal mainly focused on whether an anonymous workplace review by an employee about his/her employer relates to a matter of public interest as required by s. 137.1(3) of the Act. The ONCA opined that on such motions, “expression is to be assessed as a whole”. As such, the question is whether: “some segment of the community would have a genuine interest in receiving information on the subject”. The court must ask: “Understood in its context, what is the impugned expression really about”? … Read More

Court Orders Removal of Fake Reviews Posted by Anonymous Reviewer

Josef FinkelBusiness Defamation, Business Litigation, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Harassment, Internet Defamation, Libel, Norwich Order, Online Defamation, Online Defamation, Online Harassment0 Comments

In Obsidian Group Inc. v. Google LLC, 2022 ONSC 848, the moving party brought a motion, prior to commencing its civil proceeding, for an interim injunction requiring the removal of certain messages about it posted on its Google review page by a pseudonymous reviewer. It also sought a Norwich Order (an order requiring an innocent third party to provide certain information) directing the respondent to divulge identifying information regarding the unknown reviewer. The court found that there were “strong grounds for suspecting that” the reviews are fake. The court also found that it “would not surprise anyone” given the content of the reviews that they are “causing continuous damage” to the business of the applicant. The reviews seem “designed to discourage people from ever booking a room at the hotel” of the applicant. Further, according to statistics provided by the applicant, the reviews were “accessed several thousand times since they … Read More

Domain Name Disputes, Counterfeit Websites, Fake Bad Reviews and Remedies

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer, Qualified Arbitrator and MediatorBreach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Defamation, Business Disputes, Business Fraud, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Conspiracy to Harm, Commercial, Copyright Infringement, Cyber Fraud, Cyber Libel, Domain Name Disputes, False Light, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet Defamation, Internet Fraud, Online Defamation, Passing Off, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

I discuss here a number of internet-based “dirty tricks” that competitors or others may deploy and which may have serious adverse consequences for you or your business. I also briefly mention the types of remedies which may be available to those victimized in this way. Confusingly Similar Domain Names  In today’s modern web-based commercial world, it is more important than ever to ensure that potential customers  and returning customers are properly connected with your website domain name, and to use domain names that are well-branded and associated with your business. It is not uncommon for competitors, cyber-squatters, or other persons to obtain control of domain names that are confusingly similar to your trademarks, business names, or your domain name. Then there is a real risk that users seeking your website are instead directed elsewhere by that confusingly similar domain name. Recovering a Domain Name In order to recover (transfer to … Read More

Defamation Law – What is a “Broadcast” or “Newspaper” under the Libel and Slander Act?

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Internet Defamation, Libel, Online Defamation, Slander0 Comments

We write further to our blog which discussed the short deadlines under Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act (“Act”) that apply to defamatory content which is considered a “broadcast” or “newspaper”[1]. The Act states that: No action for libel in a newspaper or in a broadcast lies unless the plaintiff has, within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge, given to the defendant notice in writing, specifying the matter complained of, which shall be served in the same manner as a statement of claim or by delivering it to a grown-up person at the chief office of the defendant. An action for a libel in a newspaper or in a broadcast shall be commenced within three months after the libel has come to the knowledge of the person defamed, but, where such an action is brought within that period, the action may include a claim for … Read More

Defamation Lawyers and the Inference of Publication

Josef FinkelAppeals, Business Defamation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Internet Defamation, Online Defamation0 Comments

In our blog Toronto Defamation Lawyers – Libel and Slander Law in Ontario, we suggest that in order to be successful on a defamation claim, one would have to prove that the allegedly defamatory publication was “published”, among other things. The court of appeal has provided some clarity on what it means to “publish” defamatory content. In Zoutman v. Graham, 2020 ONCA 767 (CanLII), the court contends on an appeal from a summary judgment motion, that a defamation claim requires proof that the “words were communicated to at least one person other than the plaintiff”. On the original summary judgment motion, the motions judge acknowledged that there was no evidence that the allegedly defamatory postings were viewed by anyone other than the parties and their lawyers. However, the motions judge drew an “inference of publication” from the totality of the circumstances. In drawing the inference of publication, the motions judge … Read More