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Anonymous Blogging Defended

In the first case of its kind to reach a state supreme court, the Delaware Supreme Court has defended the rights of anonymous bloggers. The AP:

The Delaware Supreme Court rejected a town councilman's quest to find out who posted obscenity-laden tirades about him on the Internet, saying free speech concerns outweighed the politician's argument that he was defamed.

Chief Justice Myron Steele likened anonymous Internet speech to anonymous political pamphleteering, a practice the U.S. Supreme Court characterized in 1995 as "an honorable tradition of advocacy and dissent." ...

Steele also noted that plaintiffs in such cases can use the Internet to respond to character attacks and "generally set the record straight," and that, as in Cahill's case, blogs and chatrooms tend to be vehicles for people to express opinions, not facts.

"Given the context, no reasonable person could have interpreted these statements as being anything other than opinion. ... The statements are, therefore, incapable of a defamatory meaning," he wrote.

Posted on November 1, 2005 in
blogs, legal stuff.