<a href="">Kingston Whig-Standard </a>
Posted By JORDAN PRESS
Posted 34 mins ago
Couple to appeal order to identify blog posters
A Kingston-area couple who run a conservative online forum will appeal a court decision ordering them to hand over personal details about eight anonymous posters at the heart of a defamation lawsuit.
Connie and Mark Fournier, who run the online forum Freedominion.ca,said yesterday that they will be in Ottawa today to file the necessary papers to formally appeal a decision handed down exactly one week ago.
That decision ordered the Elginburg couple to hand over personal information about eight "John Does" whose postings are alleged to have defamed an Ottawa- based lawyer. The court ordered the couple to divulge the information before the actual defamation suit is heard.
The couple said in an interview yesterday that they have received messages from people interested in fighting the case, worried about the precedent it may set for future Internet use.
"We didn't think we'd be able to (appeal)," said Connie Four - nier. "There are a lot of good legal minds that have said this has to be fought."
Mark Fournier said the couple doesn't have enough money right now to finance the appeal. They are hoping members of their website, bloggers and forum owners will donate to their legal fund.
"We will fight as long as there are funds to fight," said Mark Fournier, who ran for a seat at Queen's Park in Kingston in 2007 under the Freedom Party banner.
The couple said they don't feel online forum users should be able to post potentially illegal material anonymously, but should be found guilty first before they are unmasked.
"This ruling allows anybody to sue any forum owner," Mark Fournier said. "Internet ano - nymity is gone."
The case stems from a posting made about a year ago on Free dominion.ca.One member had posted comments about human rights lawyer Richard Warman.
The couple removed the postings after Warman messaged them about the comments, Connie Fournier said. She said Warman messaged the couple again when the comments reappeared on the website.
Connie Fournier said the couple decided to leave the comments on the website because they believed there might have been some truth to the information posted.
Warman, a Queen's University graduate, sued the couple for libel.
In January, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard a motion in the case. Warman asked a judge to have the Fourniers give him personal details about the eight anonymous posters.
The motion also asked for the court to order the Fourniers to hand over financial information about the website.
Last week, Justice Stanley Kershman ruled that the case dealt with an "anti-hate speech advocate" and a website deemed "controversial."
Kershman ordered the Fourn - iers to disclose e-mail addresses and personal information about the posters, the IP addresses of each user's computer, and documents related to the website's operation, including hosting agreements and billing information.
"In my view, the defendants are under an obligation to disclose all documents in their power or control," Kershman wrote in his ruling.
The Fourniers were also ordered to pay about $5,000 in legal costs.
Mark Fournier said that in light of the lawsuit, freedominion.cano longer keep records of any members, save for the eight involved in the case. He said he doesn't feel safe keeping the information in light of the ruling.
"It's not that we're on a slippery slope -- we've slipped to the bottom," he said.
Article ID# 1501128
We are leaving shortly for Ottawa to file the Notice of Appeal and other required paperword.
THIS WILL NOT STAND!
- Mark and Connie
"If it takes force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with your ideas. If you are willing to use force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with you." - Mark Fournier