Canada: Supreme Court fails to protect freedom of expression beyond its borders


Today, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its much-awaited judgment in the case of Google Inc. v Equustek Solutions Inc. By a majority of 7 to 2, the Court upheld a global order enjoining Google to de-index websites in breach of Canadian intellectual property law.

ARTICLE 19 intervened in this case with Human Rights Watch, Open Net Korea, the Software Freedom Law Centre and the Centre for Technology and Society, arguing that global orders of this kind had a chilling effect on freedom of expression beyond Canada’s borders. The Court considered that any effect on freedom of expression was unsubstantiated in this case but that, if that were to be the case, Google could apply for the order to be varied.

Gabrielle Guillemin, Senior Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 said: “Today’s decision shows that Canada’s highest court cares little for free expression beyond its own borders. Global de-indexing orders are a hopelessly disproportionate tool to combat intellectual property infringement. Access to information worldwide will be more difficult as a result.

Learn more about the case.