Small Business Reading Room

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Delaware Supremes set the bar high for internet free speach

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that an anonymous blogger could stop the release of his/her identifying information to a Smyrna Delaware Councilman who was claiming libel. This Decision
may serve to set the bar in similar cases across the nation.

The anonymous blogger had written on a public issues blog that Councilman Patrick Cahill had "character flaws" and "obvious mental deterioration". Of the John Doe's named in the libel suit, John Doe #1 was the only one that Comcast could get the IP address for.

The Local news coverage of the court battle - joined by the ACLU, Public Citizen and The Electronic Frontier Foundation - has done more to spread the unflattering description of the Councilman than anything the initial post may have done.

If you are a hater in the forums, be warned that the opinion requires a post in the same forum to notify you if your victim is suing you for libel. This is not an undue burden on the victim, but it does at least give the poster a chance to organize a defense.


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