When Anyone Can Be A Publisher, Defamation And Free Speech Issues Get Trickier
from the old-rules-may-not-apply dept
We’ve been seeing all sorts of lawsuits lately that show how the rise of technologies like the internet have really caused troubles. Most of these laws were written in a time when it was impossible to imagine a day when anyone and everyone could be their own instant publisher. Take, for example, a divorce case that is suddenly getting a lot of attention, due to legal questions drawn out by the husband’s decision to publish a “fictional” account of his marriage on his blog. The wife asked the divorce court to issue an injunction, which it did, claiming that the site is harassment. However, the husband is fighting it, refusing to take down the content, noting that it’s a violation of his free speech rights, especially since the order bars him from posting anything at all about his wife. There are a number of complications on top of that. First of all, there’s the question of whether or not you can use an injunction to stop speech, even if it’s defamatory. Then there’s the question of whether or not the speech really is defamatory (made even more confusing by the guy’s claim that the story is fictional). We’re going to be seeing more and more of these cases, as it’s going to take quite some time before people realize that the internet changes the way many people will think about certain types of laws.