Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Internet Defamation Leading to Blogger Lawsuits

Censorship is Not a Good Thing

It has only been a month but some of you may not remember that this blog got its start as a result of JAABLOG censoring me. Despite having a password to post articles on their site, they foolishly, in my mind, chose to delete, after its publication, an article I had written on the legal liability of bloggers.

JAABLOG, meaning probably Marshall “I paid for this blog” Williams, felt he did not want columns which might in any way inhibit the breadth of their posters’ comments. I felt news is news, and Google being sued by a Vogue model in order to disclose a defamatory poster’s identity was worthy of a blog by a guy who has been doing first amendment law cases for thirty years next month. So I started my own blog, and 'gotta tell you, I'm loving it.

Ironically, the conclusion I reached was that blogs such as JAABLOG would more often than not be protected against litigation, by virtue of the exemptions granted to blog sites under provisions of the Communications Decency Act. Here is the piece I wrote which was censored:

As a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association, very intrigued by issues of this nature, I carefully track articles on the subject. I recognize they are esoteric and limited in broad interest. However, those as intrigued as I am by these issues are invited to a piece on this morning, written by Jonathan Bick, for the New Jersey Law Journal.

Jonathan Bick is counsel at Wolf Block in Roseland, N.J., and is an adjunct professor of Internet law at Pace Law School and Rutgers Law School. He is also the author of "101 Things You Need To Know About Internet Law" .

This is as good an article as you are going to read anywhere on the rights of bloggers, Internet defamation, and the kinds of lawsuits JAABLOG posters may be facing as they trespass routinely on the principles of defamation and slander. The blog may be protected. The posters may not be so lucky.

I wish the jaablogers the best, because I am doing my thing, and it is entirely different than what they do and how they do it. Some of what they cover is cutting edge, nearly first responder type of info. Like this great piece today:

You almost think that if there is a heart attack in the courthouse it will be on Jaablog before the stricken party reaches the ER. Just don't have that time, and am more interested in legal commentary then drooling.

The National Blawg Directory pretty much proves there is room in the blawgosphere for thousands of blogs, and no one should be jealous of the other. But as I pointed out in the original article, there are going to be more and more lawsuits for defamation and slander on the Internet. And Jaablog sure invites some comments which push the envelope, so while their posters should never be chilled, they should nevertheless be forewarned.

For myself, I am looking forward to being counsel on one side or the other in the inevitable constitutional litigation that is going to evolve out of blogging our way recklessly through the legal universe.
Norm Kent


  1. ABC news also ran an interesting piece about anonymous internet defamation today:

  2. Very cool for someone to tell it like it is, there is an article on Overlawyered today also about the number of Canadian bloggers that are getting sued. Someday, we will see shingles called 'Blog Law'....