Terrible Ruling: Forwarding A Link Can Be Considered Defamation
from the section-230-anyone? dept
While the case before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas revolved around William Perry's bankruptcy proceedings, the court relied on Texas law to determine that e-mail messages Perry sent linking to websites that made false and defamatory statements about Sugar Land, Texas, mayor David Wallace met the "actual malice" standard a public official needs to bring a defamation claim, according to the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.The article quotes someone from the EFF, which suggests that Perry didn't even raise a Section 230 defense, which would be unfortunate, if true.
Perry only included the links to the posts, which he did not write, in the e-mail--none of his own comments. He was found to have made some comments orally about how the blog might affect Wallace's career.
This is a horrible ruling in so many ways. Think about the possible impact. How many times do people pass around links via email, Facebook, Twitter or some other method? Based on this ruling, if a particular article is found to be defamatory, everyone who passed along a link to that article may now be open to liability for the defamation in the article. That's downright scary.