Oct 302009
 October 30, 2009  Posted by  Court, Online

Matthew Nied, a law student at the University of Victoria, writes:

A recent case illustrates that American jurisprudence is increasingly coalescing around a uniform approach to determine whether a plaintiff may compel the disclosure of an anonymous defendant’s identity in internet defamation cases. As discussed below, the Canadian experience has been different.

In Swartz v. Does (“Swartz”) (see: judgment) a Tennessee state court held that plaintiffs were entitled to discover the identity of an anonymous blogger that published allegedly defamatory statements about them. The case arose when the plaintiffs subpoenaed Google, the parent company of the blogging service used by the anonymous defendants (see: news article).


Swartz is yet another American case that has followed the increasingly prevalent Dendrite standard. Unfortunately, Canadian jurisprudence has yet to begin coalescing to the same extent.  The scarce Canadian law on this issue, most of which comes from Ontario, indicates that plaintiffs have two ways to compel online service providers to reveal the identities of anonymous defendants….

Read more on Defamation Law Blog.

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