University Goes After Anonymous Bloggers Because They Don't Like Them

from the that-doesn't-seem-like-a-very-good-reason... dept

Apparently there are some fairly obnoxious anonymous bloggers at St. Lawrence University, who have been criticizing and mocking students, faculty and staff at the university. It’s clear that some administrators are pretty pissed off about the whole thing (as are plenty of students). However, just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you can go after them legally. However, the university appears to be doing exactly that, filing a lawsuit to unmask the anonymous bloggers. Of course, since there’s nothing illegal about being anonymous, they had to come up with another reason. So, they came up with some bizarre charges, saying that the students violated copyrights by taking some photos off the school’s website, altering them, and posting them to the blog — for which they could probably claim it was protected parody use. However, even the school admits they don’t really care about the copyright issues, they just want to find out who the people are, so they can take other action against them. This certainly seems like a pretty serious misuse of a copyright violation claim. Anyway, it looks like the school may be closing in on the students as the court ordered Google to give up their IP addresses (which they did) — but so far Time Warner Cable has resisted in turning over whose accounts are associated with those IP addresses. Obviously, the bloggers involved are going a bit over the top in what they’re posting, but it doesn’t sound like they’ve done anything really illegal — just annoying.

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Comments on “University Goes After Anonymous Bloggers Because They Don't Like Them”

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collars up says:

anon blog came out of Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence was/is a well known finishing school for prep school girls, which has also graduated its share of women who went on to achieve fame and fortune. Given this tradition, you have to wonder a bit about the men who choose to enroll. Sometimes you hear the “gigolo” excuse but this isn’t a party school.

Some emotional baggage and issues being brought there, I’ll bet.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Actually, this is a difficult issue.

We had a client that has a public website with a form on it (the form feeds a registration system). They had a bitter ex-employee who liked to enter garbage into the forms every couple of days – anonymously of course.

Nothing illegal, but annoying and time-wasting. We ended up unofficially getting confirmation of identity from the ISP so that the former employer could ask the ex-employee to quit. But legally, there was nothing we could do to actually find out who was being a pain.

I don’t think that that is right. I’m all for privacy, but too many people use privacy to cover anti-social behaviour.

Not that I’m commenting on the specifics of this particular incident, just Mike’s comments.

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