No, California's Defamation Ruling Does Not Mean Bloggers Cannot Be Sued

from the ah,-misleading-headlines dept

Back in 2003, when a US Court of Appeals ruled that forwarding on an email written by someone else wasn’t defamation there were suddenly a bunch of news articles and blog posts that falsely concluded this meant that bloggers could say whatever they wanted and not get sued. That’s not what the ruling said at all. It had nothing to do with blogs at all, but clarified that (at least in the areas covered by that court), someone who forwarded or posted someone else’s words were likely to be protected from charges. That’s pretty similar to the ruling yesterday in California saying that posting someone else’s defamatory comments isn’t defamation. Once again, this didn’t actually involve blogs in any way, but far be it from the media to resist. MSNBC is trumpeting a headline saying “Calif. court says bloggers can’t be sued” which is wrong on way too many counts. Bloggers absolutely can be sued, and they can lose if they did actually defame or libel someone. What’s protected is if someone simply copies what someone else wrote that was defamatory, or if someone else says something defamatory in the comments or forums. Perhaps the California supreme court should sue MSNBC for defamation now.

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Comments on “No, California's Defamation Ruling Does Not Mean Bloggers Cannot Be Sued”

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