Lady Crumpet's Armoire


Archives

? WEEKEND WHOPPER RECAP | Main | ALA to meet with Internet Filter Vendors ?

July 03, 2003

"Bloggers Gain Libel Protection"

According to Xeni Jardin's report in Wired (7/30): "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday [6/24] that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers."

On the one hand, great news for bloggers and other republishers. On the other, I feel badly for Ms. Batzel. Her reputation was damaged because of what someone falsely said about her in e-mail, even though the jerk supposedly didn't expect the e-mail to be published. (Yeah, right buddy.) And she's had to up and leave the North Carolina town she lived in, because people think she's the granddaughter of a Nazi, even though it's not true.

While bloggers and other republishers seem to have more protection now, what proper remedy can someone pursue when they've been falsely, purposely, maliciously maligned? Does traditional libel or slander law still offer a person a way to protect themselves in the digital age?

UPDATE: Interesting - a Wyoming man has been fired by Home Depot, apparently in connection with columns and stories he's posted on his website which are critical of the CEO. ("Web Poster Fired by Home Depot" - Tony Wilbert, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/3/03) Wyoming's in the Tenth Circuit, however, so the Ninth Circuit ruling would merely be persuasive authority. [Link via ObscureStore]

Yours, &c., LC | 10:14 AM | Blogos , Internet & Tech , Legal | Comments (1)

Comments

The girl of dooce.com got fired (threatened and mobbed first) because she was writing about her work experiences in her weblog. She'd alter names, but apparently, this was enough to have her fired. I wonder were freedom of speech begins. If she'd kept a paper diary and accidentally left it in the office and someone would find it and...etc.etc. - would she have been fired, too?

Posted by: mademoiselle a. at July 8, 2003 12:47 PM