1. …anonymous Internet posters and bloggers: …your message will be protected by the First Amendment and your identity will be protected by the court quashing a third-party subpoena, unless the requesting party can make a prima facie showing of defamation. (Krinsky v. Doe 6 (200 159 Cal.App.4th 1154 (Krinsky).)
2. “…it can't sue the site operators directly… The Communications Decency Act gives such (comment/blog) sites a "safe harbor" against prosecution based on user posts, so is forced instead to individually pursue each person that made a disparaging remark.
“anonymous, critical speech is generally protected by the First Amendment, and the threshold for unveiling anonymous posters is high.” …lawyers can't simply assert that unknown individuals posted false and defamatory messages. The particular messages in question need to be identified, … actual false claims need to be mentioned.
Further, it's unlikely that each alleged offender is exactly guilty of the same transgression, so (they) need to offer evidence for each particular case.
3. Matter of Ottinger v. Non-Party The Journal News, 08-03892. Decided: June 27, 2008
Justice Rory J. Bellantoni. WESTCHESTER COUNTY. Supreme Court
“This decision should make anyone think twice about what they say in Bulletin Board posts. Even in "absolute free speech, anything goes" things are getting dicey for posters, at least those who attack real world people.”
“In Dendrite the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division established four guidelines in deciding applications for expedited discovery and compelling an Internet service provider to disclose the identity of anonymous Internet posters who are sued for allegedly violating the rights of individuals or corporations:
4. "If someone says something about you you don't like, well, that's their opinion. You might not like that, but that's allowed," Campbell said. "If someone lies about you, it isn't right. It's defamation. ...
More and more, companies are going after anonymous posters instead of the Internet service providers or even the Web site that allows the posting, said Kathy Ossian, information technology team leader and principal at the Miller Canfield law firm's Detroit office.
Courts have generally ruled under the federal Communications Decency Act that Web sites aren't liable for third-party comments if they take no active role in screening comments, beyond considering complaints on a case-by-case basis, Ossian said.
That law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act appear to protect Web sites and Internet service providers from being "sued for the sins of their users," said Ann Arbor attorney Christopher Juillet. The people typing the comments are legally responsible for the content of their posts, he said.
"I tell people, 'You can say whatever you want to say on the Internet ...
But just because you think you are anonymous on the Internet doesn't mean you are," Juillet said. "Saying untrue things about people and companies does leave you open to legal action."
Anonymous | 09.20.08 - 7:16 PM | #
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