Court Says That Taking Down Content After Nastygram Isn't An Agreement To Never Discuss Again
from the good-ruling dept
Over on Dave Farber’s Interesting People mailing list, there’s news that an Appeals Court has found that simply taking content offline after a lawyer nastygrams you is not an agreement to stop discussing the subject. In the case at hand, an unhappy patient of Lasik eye surgery created an anti-Lasik website where he trashed his doctor. The doctor got upset, and his lawyers nastygrammed the website owner — who, like many people when first nastygrammed, pulled the site offline. A trial court said that, in taking down the content, the website owner was effectively giving up his right to discuss the doctors again — which seems quite stifling of free speech. Luckily, the Appeals Court agreed and found that taking down content is not the same as waiving your First Amendment rights. Note that this is entirely separate from the question of whether or not the content itself was defamatory — but just whether the action of taking down the content is some sort of agreement to give up the right to discuss the topic.