Canadian Notice and Takedown in Action

3 Jun ’06

After some initial confusion over exactly what happened, it’s beginning to look like the Volpe campaign for leadership of the Liberal Party managed to shut down the Youth for Volpe site by threatening the registrar with legal action, possibly on the (entirely mysterious and seemingly completely unfounded) basis of alleged defamation. Mirrors for the site have popped back up – Stephen Taylor has the URLS and recent history. I see no defamation here; indeed nothing more than (very sharp and on point) political comedy that raised legitimate and important questions about the campaign’s fundraising practices. Both the Volpe campaign and the registrar have some explaining to do.

There’s also a judgement issue here, isn’t there? The campaign had two choices – deal with the substantive issue, or deal with the substantive issue and take the site down and then deal with accusations of political interference with the free exercise of speech. For utterly mysterious reasons (any reasonably aware 15 year-old could have predicted the reappearance of the site within hours – even minutes – of the takedown), they chose the latter.

Update: the registrar has issued a press release stating that the Volpe campaign did not request it to take the site down, and that the assertions to the customer that takedown occurred because of alleged defamation were an unfortunate error by an employee, provoked into the mistake by aggressive behaviour of the customer (the Globe has issued a correction here). The release also states that the Volpe campaign will be issuing a retraction of any assertion by it that it had requested the site be taken down, and states that the assertion was (once again) an error by a junior volunteer of the campaign.

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