A Victory For Free Speech On The Internets

Back in September, I brought up this case, involving bloggers' First Amendment rights.

Well, today, the California Supreme Court has handed down their decision (.pdf). In an unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has found in favor of the Defendant, a historic triumph for bloggers' rights to re-publish information without fear of libel suits.


The court, in a unanimous decision, said those claiming defamation can only sue the original source of the allegedly offending comments, not publishers or distributors, even if the distributor is an individual. Internet users are protected by the same 1996 Communications Decency Act that grants immunity against defamation claims to publishers in most circumstances, the court said, overturning a San Francisco appeals court.

[..]Internet service providers, search engine companies and civil liberties groups said that holding Web publishers liable would force Internet companies to keep track of every posting on discussion groups they host that may be offensive and open a flood gate of similar suits in California.

[..]"It's good news for free speech on the Internet because the Internet can't be the vibrant forum for free speech that it's become if users and Internet service providers alike have to worry about getting sued when they republish something that someone else says," said Ann Brick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

[..]The case involves a Web site operator who publicly posted a critical e-mail she received about a doctor and was sued by him when she didn't remove the material from her site. Read on...


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