Digital Broadband Networks v. Does



Threat Type: 


Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Dbbdisfunny; Dalilama; Stock Pick; Smoother 1999; WNSRFR; MrWrightAide; pseeker; Does 1-10

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Type of Party: 


Court Type: 


Court Name: 

Superior Court of New Jersey; Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

Legal Counsel: 

Paul Alan Levy - Public Citizen Litigation Group, Richard Ravin - Hartman & Winnicki, P.C. (for pseeker)

Publication Medium: 


Relevant Documents: 




Subpoena Enforced


Digital Broadband Networks and its president Patrick Lim sued seven pseudonymous internet posters in New Jersey state court for defamation over statements on electronic bulletin boards dedicated to Digital Broadband on and on general messages boards on Yahoo. The company alleged that the purpose of the postings was to drive its stock price down in order to reap profits through short selling.

Digital Broadband filed a motion for permission to engage in pre-litigation discovery to uncover the identities of the anonymous posters.  In a March 2004 hearing, the trial court granted the motion, allowing the company to subpoena Yahoo! and Lycos, the operator of the Raging Bull forum.  

One of the posters, "pseeker," filed a motion for permission to take an immediate appeal to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, in order to prevent the disclosure of his/her identity. Public Citizen's Litigation Group filed a brief supporting pseeker's right to appeal. The record is not clear about the result of this motion or what, if anything, happened after the appeal. 


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Subject Area: 



Dangerous Legal Climate for Bloggers in Malaysia

To follow up on Dan Gillmor's post earlier today, disturbing reports (here, here, and here) are emerging about the legal climate for bloggers in Malaysia. Yesterday, police detained Raja Petra Kamarudin, a prominent political commentator and blogger. They interrogated him for eight hours about articles he has posted recently and about user comments to his postings. Kamarudin is the editor of one of Malaysia's most popular political websites, Malaysia Today, which draws approximately 340,000 visitors a day, according to Chow Kum Hor of the Straits Times. The police summoned Kamarudin to Dang Wangi district police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, following a complaint by the ruling United Malays National Organization on Monday, claiming that Kamarudin had insulted the king and Islam on his website.

Upon his release from detention, Kamarudin wrote to his readers, emphasizing the government's interest in user comments and warning that "what you post in the comments section may get me sent to jail under the Sedition Act." According to Reporters Without Borders (RWB), Kamarudin faces a possible three-year prison sentence. Charles Ramendran of the Sun reports that Kamarudin's wife said that this is the second time her husband has been brought in for questioning over a posting on his website. The police questioned him last year over a posting about the sale of state titles, but did not formally charge him.


Subject Area: 

A Reminder of Free Speech's Value

BBC: Malaysia cracks down on bloggers. The Malaysian government has warned it could use tough anti-terrorism laws against bloggers who insult Islam or the country's king.
I remember visiting Malaysia in late 2001, and being assured by people in business and government that the Internet was going to truly remain a free-speech zone (unlike the highly regulated traditional media).


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