R.G. Ratcliffe in the Houston Chronicle: Suit against blogger tests limits of speech, privacy; Such lawsuits on the rise as blogs proliferate.
|Friday, September 21, 2007|
|Paris, Texas, population 26,490, may be an unlikely Internet frontier. But a defamation lawsuit filed by the local hospital against an anonymous blogger is testing the bounds of Internet privacy, First Amendment freedom of speech and whistle-blower rights.|
|A state district judge has told lawyers for the hospital and the blogger that he plans to order a Dallas Internet service provider to release the blogger’s name. The blogger’s lawyer, James Rodgers of Paris, said he will appeal to preserve the man’s anonymity.|
|Rodgers said the core question in the legal battle is whether a plaintiff in a lawsuit can strip a blogger of anonymity merely by filing suit. Without some higher standard to prove a lawsuit has merit, he said, defamation lawsuits could have a chilling effect on Internet free speech.|
|“Anybody could file a lawsuit and say, ‘I feel like I’ve been defamed. Give me the name,’ ” Rodgers said.|
Here’s the blogger. The ISP (actually, hosting service) is Blogspot. In other words, Google.
It’s complicated, and there are lots of threads to follow. Be more than interesting to see how and where this goes.
Comments are now closed.