Linkletter files appeal after judge refuses most of his anti-SLAPP application against Proctorio

Ian Linkletter filed an appeal to the BC Court of Appeal on April 7 on the rejection of his anti-SLAPP application against Proctorio.

Proctorio sued former UBC staff member Linkletter for copyright infringement in September 2020 after he tweeted links to unlisted YouTube videos explaining how Proctorio’s software works and a screenshot from the company’s online help centre.

Linkletter filed an anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) application in October 2020, arguing that the lawsuit was groundless and an attempt to silence him. After several delays, the application was heard in the BC Supreme Court in February 2022. Linkletter’s application was mostly refused in a March 11 decision.

In that decision, Justice Warren B. Milman of the BC Supreme Court ruled that all but one part of Linkletter’s anti-SLAPP application — everything but his tweet containing a screenshot — should be dismissed under BC’s Protection of Public Participation Act (PPPA), a law intended to protect citizens from SLAPP suits.

Had Linkletter’s application gone through, Proctorio’s lawsuit would not have been heard in court. Now, Proctorio is able to proceed with its lawsuit against Linkletter’s seven tweets containing links to unlisted videos.

The Notice of Appeal contains little information about the reasoning behind the appeal, but Linkletter’s team will have to prepare an appeal record and factum within 90 days of the notice.

UBC — which broadly used the remote proctoring service throughout the pandemic — restricted usage of Proctorio in March 2021 after concerns that the software was racially discriminatory. Linkletter has advocated against Proctorio throughout the pandemic, arguing that the software violates student privacy.

In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, Proctorio said it was hoping for a “prompt resolution” to the appeal.

“We found Justice Milman's ruling to be fair. If Mr. Linkletter chooses to elongate the process by questioning the soundness of the justice's decision, that is his legal right to do so. We remain confident in our case and look forward to presenting it before the Court,” the statement read.

In a statement posted on his GoFundMe on April 13, Linkletter said that he submitted an appeal because there is "too much at stake" to let the original ruling stand.

"Freedom of expression, fair dealing under the Copyright Act, and the effectiveness of anti-SLAPP legislation are all under threat and must be protected. I think it is essential that the issues raised be addressed by the Court of Appeal, BC’s highest court," he wrote.

Linkletter also said the judgement endangered "our ability" to protect students from Proctorio.

He said that Proctorio, as well as civil rights groups who wish to intervene, will be able to write factums before the appeal is heard before court..

"I will always be thankful to you for getting me here. This is the beginning of the end of Proctorio’s SLAPP, and I couldn’t have asked for better company."