The Federal Court's decision relates to two works in which copyright was alleged to have been infringed. The first work was an 11-paragraph article published by the Toronto-based daily newspaper, the National Post. The article was initially reproduced in full on Free Dominion however it was reduced to a three and a half paragraph excerpt (including the headline) further to a complaint from the National Post. The second work in which copyright infringement was alleged was a photograph published on a photographer's website. The photograph was not reproduced on Free Dominion however a link to the photograph was posted.
|© Rohan Kar|
Further, the Federal Court found that even if the copying was substantial, the article had been used for the purpose of news reporting and was therefore fair dealing. As noted above this defence is not available in this context in the UK, however in Canada the court held that fair dealing should be given a "large and liberal" interpretation therefore news reporting could include posting extracts from articles online.
This blogger is not aware of the UK courts having directly considered this question, however as noted above, the High Court for England and Wales has summarily found that it is possible to be liable for linking to defamatory material. We have yet to hear the outcome of this case, in contrast however last year the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against attributing a defamation claim to online links.