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p2pnet.net Sued for Libel
May 15, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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After its launch in July of 2002, p2pnet.net quickly became an important source of information for many members of the file-sharing and P2P community. Jon Newton, Editor, owner and lead writer of p2pnet.net, created a niche in the file-sharing world known for its considerably pro-P2P stance and condemnation of the entertainment industry.

By November 2004, p2pnet.net was a highly ranked alternative file-sharing news site. Second only to then news prolific P2Pforums.com, p2pnet.net was considered a must visit site by tens of thousands of visitors per day. Jon Newton distinguished himself as a hard worker, often producing on the upwards of eight articles per day.

Today however marks a turning point in p2pnet.net’s history, as Jon Newton announced he is being sued for libel.

“I'm being sued for libel and consequently, there'll be no postings for a few days while I try to get the situation sorted out.

“As I've posted a number of times, p2pnet is a non-entrepreneurial, not-for-profit site based in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It started out as a personal page and although the ads now pay my way and support the site, they do so only with the barest of margins and I'm not living in the lap of luxury, or even able to put anything in the bank. I say this not because I want anyone to feel sorry for me. p2pnet is a commitment and I'm tremendously proud to have been able to stand up strongly for principles I, and others, believe in.”

Canadian libel law is more similar to English law, which gives more leverage to plaintiffs than defendants in such cases. While in the United States three very difficult standards need to be met in order to successfully prosecute someone for libel, the Canadian law states, “Defamatory words in a newspaper or in a broadcast shall be deemed to be published and to constitute libel.” In other words, if an individual publishes a narrative that damages the reputation of an individual or entity, he or she could potentially be sued.

The exact details of this case are currently unknown. According to p2pnet.net’s staff, Editor Jon Newton is under a self-imposed gag order and has provided no additional information.

Update: Jon Newton has stated he is being sued not for something he wrote, rather for being a publisher.

Update: The British Columbia Court of Appeals has additional information on p2pnet.net's libel suit. By clicking "Court Services", choosing a "Civil Search", and entering "Jon Newton" as a search string, the parties of this case are revealed. The plaintiffs are none other than Sharman Networks and Nikki Hemming; while Jon Newton, two "Jon Does", Jane and John Roe, and Interserver, Inc. are the defendants.

Although few details exist, it is worthy to note that both p2pnet articles that deal with Nikki Hemming have been deleted.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Legal/Courtroom :: Other Lawsuits
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Statistics/Analysis

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