Defamation

$60,000 Ruling Against Truthful Blogger Tests Limits of the First Amendment

One of the first things I learned as a journalist, and later again as a media lawyer, was that under the First Amendment the "truth" could not be subject to a viable defamation claim. True statements are simply constitutionally immune and plaintiffs cannot sidestep all of the common law and constitutional protections for true speech through creative pleadings that would merely re-label defamation as another cause of action.

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Zen and the Constitutionality of Twitter 'Cyberstalking'

If you thought a spat between Buddhists couldn't devolve into a federal cyberstalking case of dubious constitutionality, consider the following.

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ISP Gets Identity-Seeking Subpoena Vacated

Clapping by TheGiantVermin, on Flickr From the credit-where-credit's-due department (with the requisite hat-tip to David Ardia's Twitter account):

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Dan Snyder Gets a Taste of D.C.'s New Anti-SLAPP Law

We've previously mentioned Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder's lawsuit against the Washington City Paper.

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British Libel Reform - Now With Real Proposed Legislation!

I've been writing about impending British libel reform for almost two years now, putting a post together every time something happens to bring the United Kingdom closer to fixing its quite-literally-backwards defamation laws.  "Ooo, the High Court has tossed a textbook libel tourism case," I cheered in November 2009.  "Aah, the justice minister has publicly endorsed libel reform," I

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Dan Snyder is butthurt, SLAPP suit ensues, Irony meter pegged

Washington Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, seems to have awfully thin skin for a guy who owns a sports team named after a racial insult.

Snyder filed a frivolous defamation suit against the Washington City Paper ("WCP") based upon an article "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder."

Snyder accuses the WCP of spreading "lies, half-truths, innuendo, and anti-Semitic imagery" to defame him, seeking $2 million in damages.  The amount is split between two claims, the first for defamation and the second for false light.  The "anti-semitic imagery" he complains of is a crude addition of horns, a unibrow and Anton LaVey-esque goatee to Snyder's photograph in the WCP, which can be seen here.

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New Conference for Internet Law Scholars

Call For Papers:

The High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law and the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School are pleased to announce a new annual works-in-progress series for Internet Law scholarship. The inaugural event will be held at Santa Clara University on March 5, 2011. Thereafter, the event will rotate between NYLS and SCU each Spring semester.

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When Art Imitates Life: Suing for Defamation in Fiction

CMLP received an email from a novelist asking us how far she can take the advice, "write what you know." Would she risk being sued for libel if she based a character in her fictional work on a person she knows and dislikes in real life? Could she be held accountable if her fictional work were actually semi-autobiographical and described not only her own real-life actions, but also those taken by others?

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N.C. Judge Unmasks Pseudonymous Blog Commenters

A North Carolina trial court recently ordered the editor of the local community blog Home in Henderson to turn over the names and addresses of six pseudonymous commenters who allegedly defamed former Vance County commissioner Thomas S. Hester, Jr.

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