Supreme Court of Canada, Crookes v. Newton, 2011 SCC 47

Document type
Court Decision
This case involved hyperlinks in an online article that directed its readers to defamatory materials. The issue is whether this constituted a publication for the purposes of defamation law. For a defamation case to succeed in Canada, the plaintiff must prove that the defamatory statement is “published”. Here, the Court held that, unless the hyperlink itself communicates defamatory meaning in the context, the act of hyperlinking is so passive that it does not amount to publication. (paras 21 & 40). That is, to satisfy the publication element, the plaintiff must prove that the intermediary had “knowing involvement in the publication of the relevant words (para 21).
Topic, claim, or defense
Defamation or Personality Rights
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Highest Domestic/National (including State) Court
Type of service provider
Host (Including Social Networks)
Type of law
General effect on immunity
Strengthens Immunity