Online publishing and international law

There’s a very important article by our legal director Siobhain Butterworth in MediaGuardian today, covering the outcome of a court case in Canada regarding a Washington Post story that was published online. The legal issues are complex, so I won’t summarise them here, but here’s a key para:

The superior court of justice had concluded that the Washington Post should have foreseen that the story would follow Mr Bangoura wherever he resided. The Canadian court of appeal disagreed, noting that the newspaper could not have been expected to foresee that Mr Bangoura, who was working in Kenya at the time the articles were published, would end up as a resident of Ontario three years later, “to hold otherwise would mean that a defendant could be sued almost anywhere in the world based upon where a plaintiff may decide to establish his or her residence long after publication of the defamation”.

Essentially, it brings a little common sense into the current vacuum of international online publishing jurisdiction. Read the whole article for more.