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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > P2PNet Asks For Donations to Fight Online Censorship

P2PNet Asks For Donations to Fight Online Censorship

P2PNet Asks For Donations to Fight Online Censorship

Added: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Category: Bit Torrent Freedom > The Right To Share
Tags:ET, p2p, Torrent, Piracy, Peer To Peer, Network, Hackers, Internet, BitTorrent, Google, utorrent, bitcomet, extratorrent, 2010, www.extrattorrent.com
Jon Newton from P2PNet is asking everyone for help in legal battle against Wayne Crookes, the owner of West Coast Title Search, based in Vancouver. The latter claims that linking to a story equals to publishing, while linking to an allegedly libelous page equals to defamation.


P2PNet finds itself locked in a pitched legal fight with Wayne Crookes, West Coast Title Search’s owner, who accuses Jon Newton of linking to an article, which he thinks equals to publishing it, and of linking to a libelous story. Therefore P2PNet may be guilty of defamation.

P2PNet published a call for arms, describing the situation it found itself in after refusing the Crookes’s lawyer to “repudiate” a “libel” in a story they didn’t like, and to “apologize.” The things were escalated to a court level where the Court of Appeal for British Columbia supported BC Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that has implications for not only Canadian citizens, but for everyone having a net account. The court decided that site owners can’t be held liable for content posted on other websites to which they have merely linked. The ruling said that if the linking site endorses the content or encourages visitors to visit the linked website, it may be held responsible, as this might constitute publication. However, Jon Newton argues he hadn’t published anything or even commented it, just linked.

Still, the legal fight continues and Crookes and his lawyers are now allowed to appeal the BC decision at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa scheduled for December 7. Broad coalition of media organizations, as well as such giants as Yahoo, Google, the Wikipedia, eBay, and various civil liberties associations has already filed a motion for leave to intervene in defense of free linking.

P2PNet needs $5,000 to cover the services of Vancouver media lawyer Dan Burnett representing the defendant in Ottawa. This magnitude is supposed to automatically pave the way for plaintiff and defendant having equal footing, but as it often happens, that’s not the way the things are. Money rules this world and they are needed to pay the lawyer and cover other direct out-of-pocket expenses like travel, accommodation and legal disbursements.

Since it’s a kind of fight the free users can’t afford to lose, some of you might decide to help and contribute towards the costs.

September 23rd, 2010

Posted by: 

Date:  Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Comments (2) (please add your comment »)

posted by (2010-09-24 02:38:03)
evilmother avatar1 never heard of them
2 if they got a shot in hell the lawyer would wate to get his pay

posted by Blocked (2010-09-24 08:33:56)
menahunie avatarYou can't win any libel or defamation case unless you can prove the entity that make the information public knew it was false in the first place...

Wayne Crookes?
He is suing allot of people and companies.
Here is a link:

The story:
Can you defame someone just by linking?

p2pnet view P2P:- Well, can you defame someone just by linking to them in an online story?

Wayne Crookes (right) says you can.

According to him, when you link to something — anything — on another site, you also publish the story you’ve linked to, which in turn means if someone has been insulted in the story your link takes readers to, you’ve insulted them as as well.

Its a ridiculous contention, but that’s what he’s claiming, and it’s why tried to sue me for defamation. He failed but was granted leave to appeal.

It’s about one man’s bloody minded efforts to use a specious lawsuit to bend the net to his will, freezing it solid in the process, and attempts to keep the internet open and free.

Crookes must be stopped because if he isn’t, online freedom of speech in Canada will go down the toilet and the net will become a barren wasteland where people with few, if any, legal or financial resources will be afraid to speak for fear of ending up on the wrong end of a court case like this — a case they won’t be able to defend themselves against.

Is it that serious, that bad?

It is.

My lawyer, Dan Burnett, is providing his skills for free. But I’m currently trying to raise funds to cover our travel and associated legal expenses.

On Saturday, there was $205 in the Stop Wayne Crookes from Freezing the Net money box. It went up by $12 over the weekend, bringing the total so far to $217. It’s somewhat less than that, of course: eBay’s PayPal takes its cut. But it all counts.

Crookes v Newton will be heard at the Federal Supreme Court in Ottawa on December 7 and “Can you tell us any more about this?” – asked a Reader’s Write recently. “Like, where is the link Crookes is complaining about?”

Someone else wanted details of the case. Below is the email I sent him in response.


I’ve kept this email as short as I could, but it’s still rather long. Sorry. It also has a number of links which, in the circumstances, is a bit ironic. : )

After we talked, yesterday, I told you briefly about Crookes v Newton, the Supreme Court of Canada case I’m named in and which, if I lose, will result in a total shutdown of the net in Canada, with huge repercussions around the world.

Does that look unreal? It isn’t.


I’m just an old guy who for the past eight years has been running p2pnet.net, a freedom-of-speech advocacy blog from the basement of my home in Lake Cowichan, here on Vancouver Island. p2pnet is small, but fairly well known around the world.

In it, I’d linked to a post Vancouver businessman Wayne Crookes, owner of West Coast Title Search and the former financier and campaign manager of the federal Green Party of Canada, didn’t like. He claims linking to the story were the same as publishing it. When he demanded I take it down, I refused.

Here’s the story which started it all – http://www.p2pnet.net/story/9387. “The Wayne Crookes Sues the Internet case is going to get interesting not only for Canadians, but for anyone, anywhere, who wants to be able to speak freely and openly online, without fear of being sued”, I said in April, 2007. http://www.p2pnet.net/story/12056

Sadly, I was correct. Instead of dropping it Crookes escalated things to court level and, in a ruling with implications for not only Canadians, but for everyone everywhere with a net account, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia agreed with BC Supreme Court judge Stephen Kelleher’s earlier decision that website owners aren’t responsible for defamatory content on other sites to which they’ve linked. If the linking website endorses the material or encourages readers to go to the linked site, the linking site may be liable because that might constitute publication, said the decision. But I hadn’t published anything, or commented in any way. I’d merely linked.

That wasn’t good enough for Crookes. He was given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, and the case is now slated to be heard in Ottawa on December 7 in Ottawa. Please go here for details – [short] http://www.p2pnet.net/story/43735 [longer] http://www.p2pnet.net/story/43319

Crookes v Newton has garnered considerable international attention but, shamefully, has received embarrassingly scant coverage from the Canadian mainstream media — certainly not the kind of reporting and analysis it deserves. Because whichever way the federal Supreme Court decision ultimately goes, it’ll be precedent-setting, quite literally deciding whether or not freedom of speech in Canada is a genuine, inalienable right, or just an empty phrase.

Also named for alleged defamation were Google, Wikimedia, Pbwiki, Yahoo, MySpace, Openpolitics.ca, Domains by Proxy, well-known Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, Michael Pilling, Hayley Easto, Kate Holloway, Craig Hubley, Frank Cameron, Catharine Johannson, Gareth White and anonymous persons.

My case came about directly because of another on-going freedom-of-speech case in which I’m being sued for defamation following an anonymous comment post someone had left on p2pnet. The plaintiff is Nikki Hemming, the woman who runs Kazaa, the multi-million-dollar P2P file sharing application owned by Australia’s Sharman Networks. I’ve had it hanging over my head for four years, and it’s yet to be heard. Not fun, and a whole other story unto itself.


I don’t know where the other Crookes defamation cases rest. But mine is the only one in which the charge was alleged defamation by linking.

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) has filed a motion for leave to intervene in defence of free linking, as have Google, Yahoo, the Wikipedia and eBay, as well as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, BC Civil Liberties Association, and a broad coalition of media organisations.


Their support is vital, but it doesn’t pay any bills, which is why I’m asking for contributions from anyone and everyone who cares about stopping Crookes in his tracks to keep the internet free and healthy. My lawyer, Vancouver media expert Dan Burnett, is providing his services for free. But Dan and I estimate we need around $5,000 direct out-of-pocket costs such as travel, accommodation, legal disbursements, and so on. And we need this sooner rather than later.

I suggested the recipient might also want to check out Wayne Crookes vs p2pnet: BC Supreme Court ruling in my favour, now under appeal, and Freedom of speech can vanish in the night.

If you’d like to help …

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