by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 20th 2009 3:44pm
We recently posted a link to a libel guide for bloggers, recognizing that many bloggers don't realize their comments are subject to defamation laws. That said, however, it's still quite rare to find a blogger found guilty of libel in court. Mark writes in to alert us to one such case that raises a number of very troubling questions: a court in South Carolina awarded a $1.8 million libel judgment against a blogger, despite questions about whether the guy in question actually wrote the blog post. The court ruled in summary judgment, which really should only occur if the facts are not in question -- but they are very much in question. The guy who was accused claims he didn't write the content (even if he agrees with it). The blog itself appears to be a semi-anonymous group blog, so there's no clear indication that the guy being fined actually wrote the content. You would think that this fact, alone, would preclude a summary judgment and require a trial. There were also issues with actually making sure that the guy was given proper notice about the lawsuit and the court proceedings, so he was not present at some of the hearings. As the link above notes, this ruling is quite chilling if you write a blog.
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