Victory for free speech on the internets

Bloomberg:
The California Supreme Court said Internet publishers can't be held liable if they post defamatory comments written by others...
The court, in a unanimous decision, said those claiming defamation can only sue the original source of the allegedly offending comments, not publishers or distributors, even if the distributor is an individual. Internet users are protected by the same 1996 Communications Decency Act that grants immunity against defamation claims to publishers in most circumstances, the court said, overturning a San Francisco appeals court.
"By declaring that no 'user' may be treated as a 'publisher' of third party content, Congress has comprehensively immunized republication by individual Internet users," the court said today.
..."It's good news for free speech on the Internet because the Internet can't be the vibrant forum for free speech that it's become if users and Internet service providers alike have to worry about getting sued when they republish something that someone else says," said Ann Brick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Offended parties can still, of course, seek recourse against the original source of defamatory material. The point is, if the New York Times publishes something, and a blogger reprints it, someone who wants to sue over the item must go to the Times, not the blogger. And that's a very good thing.

(Via Crooks and Liars)

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