California court gives immunity to bloggers

Last week, MSNBC reported the California Supreme Court ruled that bloggers and participants in Internet bulletin board groups cannot be sued for re-posting defamatory statements made by others.

This case has been watched very closely by free speech groups and provides the same protection that internet service providers receive for hosting content posted by others. From the article:

The case involved a lawsuit against Ilena Rosenthal, a women’s health activist, who created an e-mail list and a newsgroup ( to discuss issues related to breast implants. Six years ago, she posted a letter written by a man who was highly critical of the efforts of a doctor to discredit advocates of alternative health treatments.

In the letter, the doctor, Terry Polevoy, was accused of trying to get an alternative medicine radio program canceled by using "scare tactics, stalking, and intimidation techniques" against the program’s producer. Polevy, who maintained a website himself to expose what he called "health fraud and quackery" sued Rosenthal for libel.

Rosenthal argued she did not write the letter herself, posting the work of another to the news group.

I’m not a legal eagle, but I would tend to apply this ruling to comments made by others to my posts, as well as comments made to other comments. While I moderate comments on this blog, visitors have made inflammatory statements about others, for which I should not be held responsible. I ask those who make comments to stay on topic, and avoid stupidity.

Read the entire article: "Calif. court says bloggers can’t be sued".

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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