Website Lawyers | Domain Name Disputes | Counterfeit Websites | Fake Bad Reviews and Remedies

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer, Qualified Arbitrator and MediatorBrand Protection, Commercial, Copyright Infringement, Cyber Fraud, Cyber Libel, Domain Name Disputes, Information Technology, Internet | Technology, Internet Defamation, IT Arbitrator, Media Litigation, Online Defamation, Online Defamation, Online Harassment, Passing Off, Technology Arbitrator, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

In this blog we discuss 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 … Read More

Court Orders Removal of Fake Reviews Posted by Anonymous Reviewer

Gilbertson Davis LLPBusiness 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

B.C. Court Claims Jurisdiction over International Online Defamation Case

Gilbertson Davis LLPArbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Defamation, Forum Challenges, Online Defamation0 Comments

This blog post is further to our blog on the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision in v. Goldhar, 2018 SCC 28 (CanLII) (“Haaretz”) wherein the SCC opined that Israel was a more convenient forum for an online defamation claim brought by the plaintiff in Ontario (even though the SCC recognized that Ontario had jurisdiction over the matter). The SCC considered a number of factors in its decision (all outlined in our blog). In the recent Supreme Court of British Columbia (“BCSC”) decision, Giustra v Twitter, Inc., 2021 BCSC 54 (CanLII) (“Giustra”), the BCSC confirmed that even where jurisdiction is found, a court can decline to exercise its jurisdiction under the principle that its court is not the most convenient forum for the hearing of the dispute (largely following the tenets laid out in Haaretz). The court in Giustra cited Haaretz in pointing out that the applicable law in … Read More

Online Defamation and Use of Pseudonyms

Gilbertson Davis LLPArbitration, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Defamation, Injunction & Specific Performance, Norwich Order, Online Defamation0 Comments

Online Defamation (“Cyber Libel”) Many of our defamation matters come from the internet. These cases take many forms, from defamatory articles, to social media posts, to negative reviews of a business or person. Courts have recognized that online defamation or “cyber libel” is far more perverse than other forms of defamation. This is because internet users can reach the global population within seconds by publishing defamatory remarks about an individual or a business. As such, cyber libel can be significantly more damaging to a person’s business and/or reputation than other forms of defamation. Posting via Online Pseudonyms Some individuals go so far as to create aliases to post malicious and defamatory comments about others on the internet. In Ontario, you can sue an anonymous defamer by naming them as “John Doe” and/or “Jane Doe” in your claim against them. There are methods to determine the identity of these anonymous defamers, … Read More

Toronto Defamation Lawyers – Libel and Slander Law in Ontario

Gilbertson Davis LLPArbitration, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Online Defamation0 Comments

Defamation is the tort of false publication (whether written or oral). Typically, a publication which tends to lower a person’s reputation in the opinion of reasonable members of society, or to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, is defamatory and will attract liability. The major piece of legislation governing the law of defamation in Ontario is the Libel and Slander Act. According to the Act, you can be defamed in two ways: via either (1) Libel and/or (2) Slander. What is Libel? Defamatory communications may be by words, pictures, sounds, or other forms of communication.  They may be published on the internet, in social media postings, on websites, online reviews, chat rooms, or in other forms of broadcast. The dissemination of such defamatory comments or communications to the public is libelous. What is Slander? Slander is the public utterance of words that are meant to disparage a person … Read More

Judgment Against Anonymous Blogger – Service on Pseudonym

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer, Qualified Arbitrator and MediatorCommercial, Information Technology, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation0 Comments

In the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Theralase Technologies Inc. v. Lanter, 2020 ONSC 205, (“Theralase Technologies Inc.”)  the court granted judgment in libel against anonymous and unidentified bloggers. In his reasons, Justice Myers held that the court has jurisdiction to grant judgment against unidentified defendants, despite the fact that the plaintiffs and the court do not know the defendant’s name, for defamatory statements published on the internet, “where a form of service can reasonably be expected to bring court proceedings to the attention of an unidentified defendant at whom the litigation finger has been appropriately pointed…” While noting that nothing in the Rules of Civil Procedure anticipates final judgments being granted against unidentified defendants, because civil proceedings generally involve claims and judgments in personam (against a person), the court observed that there are many cases started with placeholder names like “John Doe” pending the identification of … Read More

Court Considers When a Matter is in “Public Interest” in Anti-SLAPP Motion

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Defamation, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation0 Comments

In Paramount v. Johnston, 2018 ONSC 3711 (CanLII), the Ontario Court considered whether to dismiss a defamation claim based on the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) provision of the Court of Justice Act (section 137).  We have previously blogged on the new anti-SLAPP provision: see our earlier post “Court Awards Damages to Defendant in Defamation Case”. In Paramount v. Johnston, the plaintiff company operates a number of middle-eastern restaurants.  The plaintiff company was owned by the individual plaintiffs. The plaintiff company was hosting a fundraiser organised for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.   A protest had been organised outside the restaurant to coincide with the fundraiser. The defendants alleged that they attended at the restaurant for the protest.  The defendants allegedly defamed the plaintiffs in a total of eight videos taken on the day of the protest. One of the defendants brought a motion to dismiss the claim against him based … Read More

Supreme Court Considers Jurisdiction and the Appropriate Forum in International Internet Defamation Claim ( v. Goldhar)

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Defamation, Forum Challenges, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Online Defamation0 Comments

In v. Goldhar, 2018 SCC 28 (CanLII), the Supreme Court considered whether a defamation claim brought by the plaintiff in Ontario should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or, alternatively, for a more convenient forum.   The the plaintiff is a prominent Canadian businessman who owns a large real-estate investment company in Ontario. He also owns a popular professional soccer teams in Israel.  He is well known in Israel, maintains a residence there, and travels there every few months.  The corporate defendants publish a daily newspaper in Israel in both English and Hebrew, which is distributed in print and online.  The newspaper has a distribution of about 70,000 print copies in Israel. The individual defendants are the newspaper’s former sports editor and the author of the allegedly libellous article. The defendants published an article about the plaintiff’s ownership and management of the soccer teams in Israel.  The article also referenced … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Defamation Claim against Better Business Bureau

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Defamation, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation, Technology and Internet0 Comments

In Walsh Energy Inc. v. Better Business Bureau of Ottawa-Hull Incorporated, 2018 ONCA 383, the Court of Appeal considered a defamation claim against the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”). The plaintiff company had failed to respond to a customer complaint using the BBB protocol, and did not resolve the complaint independently. The BBB changed changed the plaintiff’s rating on its website from “satisfactory” to “unsatisfactory”.  About a year later, the BBB adopted a new ratings system, and assigned the plaintiff a “grade” of D-. The plaintiff brought a claim against the BBB in defamation, alleging that the D- grade caused it substantial damages. On appeal, the Court of Appeal considered (1) whether the D- grade was defamatory, and (2) whether the publication was protected by the defence of fair comment. In respect of (1), the Court stated that the trial judge was wrong to only consider whether the D- grade was … Read More

Andrew Ottaway provides commentary to Global News about online defamation

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Defamation, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation, Technology and Internet0 Comments

Andrew Ottaway was asked to comment about online defamation and the potential risks of posting material online. See the video here. The lawyers at Gilbertson Davis have experience with libel and slander claims, including online defamation.  Please contact us for an initial consultation.

Court Awards Damages to Defendant in Defamation Case

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Defamation, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation0 Comments

In United Soils Management Inc. v. Mohammed, 2017 ONSC 4450, the Plaintiff operated a gravel pit in the municipality of Whitchurch-Stouffville.  The municipal council voted to allow the Plaintiff to deposit fill onto certain sites. The Defendant was a member of the community, who was concerned about contamination from the deposits.  The Defendant posted on the internet regarding her concerns.   The Plaintiff demanded that the Defendant cease posting and apologize.  In response, the Defendant posted a retraction and apology. Nevertheless, the Plaintiff commenced a claim against the Defendant claiming damages for defamation.   The Defendant brought a motion to dismiss the action under section 137.1(3) of the Courts of Justice Act, a provision resulting from the Anti-SLAPP (Strategic lawsuit against public participation) legislation.  Section 137.1(3) requires the Court to dismiss claims where the Defendant proves that the proceeding arises from “expression” related to “a matter of public interest”, subject … Read More

Court of Appeal Confirms Defamation Notice Periods Apply to Online Newspapers

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Defamation, Online Defamation0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released its decision in John v. Ballingall, et al, 2017 ONCA 579, which confirmed that online versions of newspapers are subject to the protections found in Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.12 (the “Act”). The Act provides for certain notice and limitation periods, which if not met, may act as a bar for any future defamation actions.  Specifically, Section 5(1) of the Act provides that no action for libel in a “newspaper” or “broadcast” lies unless the plaintiff has, within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge, given the defendant notice in writing of the specific matter complained of. Section 6 of the Act provides that an action for libel in a “newspaper” or “broadcast” shall be commenced within three months after the libel has come to the knowledge of the plaintiff. In this decision, the plaintiff (a rapper known as Avalanche the Architect) commenced an action for libel against the Toronto Star because … Read More