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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Erstazi, 21 Nov 2006 @ 1:14pm

    ...

    "But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!" - Friedrich Nietzsche

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 21 Nov 2006 @ 2:14pm

    Well...

    considering that most "blogs" are just copy-paste jobs of other sites (and sometimes even other blogs) the posters think they are getting the same protection. They think that the ruling gives them a get out of jail free card in the event they post some seriously wrong and damaging info.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rico J. Halo, 21 Nov 2006 @ 10:03pm

      Re: Well...

      Im curious...do you really believe your statement that most blogs are copy/pastes of other blogs? I make comments on news stories on mine but have an equivalent amount of original "written-by-me" content as well. I read blogs a lot and think most are honest efforts.

      www.thatpoliticalblog.com

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rico J. Halo, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:41am

    Just a shameless plug

    Just wanted to make sure everyone caught my hourly bit of shameless self promotion.

    www.thatpoliticalblog.com

    In case you didn't notice yet, my web site is:

    www.thatpoliticalblog.com

    By the way, you'll notice that surprisingly few of my claims show any kind of real understanding, that I'm mostly parroting Fox News and going on about "The Liberals this" and "The Liberals that" - in a failing attempt to bring credibility back to my side, the good, white, wealthy, male, Republican side.

    So stop by my site (did I mention that it's www.thatpoliticalblog.com?) and learn why I'm a closed-minded ass. Also see me copy-and-paste entire articles from other websites (copyright infringement!) so it looks like I write more.

    Come visit my site. Self-promotion, one-sided views, and a brilliant approach to copy-and-paste await. You can also expect a high-handed (if poor) attempt at using the English language in an attempt to sound more clever than I am.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Charles Griswold, 22 Nov 2006 @ 9:53pm

      Re: Just a shameless plug

      If you're not who you're saying you are (and I assume you're not) you are certainly opening yourself up to a defamation suit, regardless of whether or not you're in California.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rico J. Halo, 27 Nov 2006 @ 9:13pm

        Re: Re: Just a shameless plug

        No biggie. Its just the internets. Ive been out here a long time and people seldom surprise me anymore. People pretending to be me or running their mouth, eh, so what. Lifes too short to worry about the small stuff.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.