Tuesday, December 11, 2018

California Supreme Court: Bloggers not responsible for defamatory posts

by J.T Dabbagian (writer), , November 22, 2006

The California Supreme Court ruled today that bloggers were not responsible for defamatory content that they did not create, overturning a previous ruling by an appeals court.

The court stated in its ruling that only the original author of the comments could be sued for libel: Any person who reposted the comments could not be held liable.

"The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications," said Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan. "Nevertheless ... statutory immunity serves to protect online freedom of expression and to encourage self-regulation, as Congress intended."

The lawsuit originated with a woman who posted libelous information about two doctors, who then sued the woman for libel.

The interesting thing to note, however, is how several big-name internet companies backed the appeal, supporting the woman. The reason is clear: They do not want to be held responsible for thing stated by its users.

And who wouldn't blame them? With these sites as big as they are, and with their money, they are big targets for a lawsuit. Libel laws permit the person being defamed to sue the person who wrote the offending comment, as well as the site used to express the comment, as well as the publisher. In terms of Broowaha, it would mean the reporter, the site, and its web host would be sued.

Google, Amazon, and other companies wouldn't want that. They have multitudes of comments on their sites, and one comment could have obliterated them, should the ruling have been upheld.

It is the liability of the author of the offending material, and nobody else. Whether another person knows it to be true or not, they are still merely messengers, not the creators, and as the cliche holds, you don't kill the messenger.

About the Writer

J.T Dabbagian is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on California Supreme Court: Bloggers not responsible for defamatory posts

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By Ariel on November 22, 2006 at 10:35 am
Great first article and very interesting topic. This decision is a very good thing for web 2.0 oriented websites as they heavily rely on user contributions.
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