November 02, 2003

Comments cannot be sued

The lefty blogger Atrios got a letter from Donald Luskin's (an NRO Online Contributor) attorney, Jeffrey J. Upton. Atrios was accused for linking Mr. Luskin in one of his posts with the label "Diary of a stalker". His readers, in responding to his invitation to comment, have posted numerous libelous statements regarding Mr. Luskin.

Mr. Jack M. Balkin, a professor of Yale Law School defends Atrios's chances stating:

Despite Mr. Upton's suggestions to the contrary, Atrios is not liable for the postings in the comments section. And he has no duty to take them down.

Section 230 of the 1996 Telecom Act protects people who run websites from being sued for republishing the libels of another person. Section 230 states that " no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Mr. Balkin also adds:

This does not mean that bloggers are immune from libels they themselves write. So if bloggers defame somebody, they can still be sued for what they say, just not for what someone else who publishes on the blogger's site says.

via Buzzmachine.


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