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Free Dominion | 24Jul2012 | Mark and Connie Fournier

Protecting Internet Freedom

Dear Free Dominion member,

You are receiving this email because you are a current member of Free Dominion.

Many of you may already know that Free Dominion has been fighting five court battles involving freedom of speech on the internet. In 2007 we took on the Canadian Human Rights Commission over their conduct in enforcing the "hate propaganda" clause of the Canadian Human Rights Act, Section 13. This clause has now been declared unconstitutional by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The House of Commons has voted for Bill C-304 removing Section 13 from the Human Rights Act and the Bill is pending approval by the Senate.

We recently received a Federal Court of Canada decision dismissing a copyright claim by Richard Warman. We did not have a lawyer represent us because we could not afford it. However, the precedents we set when representing ourselves have been lauded by internet experts worldwide.

Our legal battles are far from over. We have stood alone for five years against the onslaught of legal actions by people who seek to limit your online freedom of speech, and we will continue to stand up for you as long as our resources hold out.

Now we need your help.

Recently, John Baglow, a blogger known as "Dr. Dawg" sued us because a Free Dominion member, "Peter O'Donnell" aka Roger Smith, wrote a negative comment about Baglow's internet persona, Dr. Dawg. We filed a motion with the court to dismiss this case, and they did. Baglow had a right to appeal which he used. The Ontario Court of Appeals decided that the issues of how defamation law is applied to the internet is so complex they wanted a full trial with cross-examinations and expert witnesses to consider the matter.

Several stellar expert witnesses have come forward to offer their services and this has the potential to shape defamation law in a way that will greatly enhance online freedom of speech for all Canadians once the court hears our evidence. However, the court also ordered us to pay $14,000 in court costs to John Baglow before we can move forward.

We have a fundraiser going at and we have just over $3000 left to raise to reach our $14,000 goal with a bit more than a week to go.

If you have already donated, thank you so much for your support! If you can donate to push us over the top in this last week, we appreciate your support. Please share this message with all of your friends through e-mail and your social media to help us get this bill paid so that we can continue our mutual defence!

Thank you
Connie and Mark Fournier

[W.Z.  I met Mark Fournier when he was still in Edmonton and publicized the d/d issue on the Free Dominion newgroup in early 2002:
Edmonton Centre-East resolution on d/d, Feb. 20, 2002; W. Zuzak
Liberal corruption of justice system, Mar. 01, 2002; W. Zuzak
Medicine Hat resolution on d/d, Mar. 08, 2002; W. Zuzak
Helmut Oberlander case, Mar. 09, 2002; W. Zuzak
June 2001 d/d Report, Mar. 10, 2002; W. Zuzak

Unfortunately, there was not much interest by the members in the d/d issue. It was not until 18Jul2007 that a CHRC complaint was initiated against Free Dominion and Richard Warman launched a lawsuit against Connie, Mark, Free Dominion and 8 John Does in November 2007; February 20, 2008; April 09, 2008; April 08, 2011. John Baglow launched a lawsuit against Connie and Mark Fournier on May 16, 2011.

So the Fourniers and Free Dominion have been protecting freedom of speech and battling internet censorship for the past five years. Those interested in these issues should follow the upcoming court case and help out financially if so inclined.]



Over the past five years we have found ourselves standing alone protecting our internet freedoms and rights; it has been a very difficult and expensive journey for us. We would not have survived this long without the support of Free Dominion members and friends.

Now our court and legal costs are escalating rapidly. We need the support of the wider internet community to continue our journey toward justice in order to maintain the principles of freedom of speech, thought and association for us all on the internet. Your consideration and support is greatly appreciated.


As operators of one of the largest discussion forums in Canada, Free Dominion, we have repeatedly found ourselves on the front lines in legal battles that have had enormous implications for internet freedom, personal privacy and free speech. When cases like these come up, it is critically important that they be fought in such a way that results in good legal precedents being set. For this reason, we have fought hard for your freedom at every opportunity.

Our legal cases have, so far, resulted in some excellent case law that protects internet users.  Here is what we have done so far:

1) Plaintiffs must now show that they have a real case of defamation, and a judge must consider free speech factors before the private information of anonymous posters can be demanded from website operators.  This precedent has already been used in another case to successfully protect anonymous political posters from a threatening mayor.

2) Excerpts from a copyrighted article are not considered a copyright violation.  (This point and the following two points were part of this decision.)

3) The "user's rights" of blogs and forums are now given liberal consideration as these sites can now take advantage of a "news reporting" exemption for copyright purposes.

4) Links to copyrighted material are not considered to be violations of copyright (even if the links display a picture on a different site).

5) Internet flame wars should not result in a successful defamation complaint when one flamer chooses to leave the online debate and file a lawsuit. This is vitally important to website operators who allow comments because, in Canada, they are liable for what others post on their sites.

Precedent 5 above, however, is under threat, and we are being forced back into court to protect and verify it, and to, hopefully, expand protection of internet commenters and website operators while we are there.

You Can Help Us Shape the Law

The Ontario Court of Appeals asked us to bring expert witnesses to help them understand how defamation law should be applied to our internet. This is an incredible opportunity for us to help shape the law. We have to ensure that our freedoms of association, thought, belief, opinion and free speech are properly protected.


We can't do it alone!


We need to raise $14,000 immediately to pay court costs and we will need to raise more funds for experts and for legal expenses for the trial.


As we have done during the past five years, we will press ahead and help the court to create good law.  When the copyright case came up, we didn't have enough money to hire another lawyer, so we defended ourselves and many other internet users will now benefit from the legal decisions made in that case.

Leigh Beadon on TechDirt wrote of this win:

"All told, this is an excellent decision, and offers further proof that Canada has the very real potential to move copyright law in a positive direction."

We are determined to make sure that internet defamation law moves in a positive direction, too.

Going Forward

Our next big hurdle is to raise the $14,000 we need to bring the case to court.  The more money we raise, the easier it will be for us to provide expert witnesses, and to present the best possible case.


If you want to help us but you can't donate, please help us to spread the word about our campaign.  Tell anyone who loves the internet that they have an opportunity to help keep our internet free and available to everyone.!

Our track record shows that we will stand up for our internet, we will not quit, and we CAN win!  Through no choice of our own, we have been thrust into the front lines of this battle.  We hope you will stand with us!

Mark and Connie Fournier

Free Dominion