Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Anonymous defamatory US bloggers no longer immune from legal repercussions

Legal Zoom.com reports that US bloggers who believe they can assail anyone any way they wish by claiming anonymity may start running into a legal buzz saw now after new court rulings hold bloggers accountable for their defamatory comments.

Read the story here.

Basically, the courts ruled that bloggers can no longer post harmful, hurtful, derogatory statements about others anonymously without recrimination. Further, the courts have the power to discover the blogger's identity and hold him or her responsible for posting injurious comments on the www.

Previously, courts gave wide leeway to anonymous bloggers under the First Amendment.

In new decisions, they are tempering freedom of speech and expression First Amendment rights with the reality of the extensive reach and international power of the Internet - the potential damage that can be done to reputations, careers and lives - far beyond the boundaries of the US.

Just because you can physically yell "fire" in a crowded room where there is no fire, putting everyone at risk, doesn't mean it's legal under the First Amendment - because it's not.

One reason you'll see more of these cases because more people who are libeled or slandered are fighting back - including those who might be considered public personalities (or "celebrities;" ordinarily there are practically no recriminations for saying anything about them); one of the cases involved a model, for example.

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