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Quote of the Day - Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects. - Judge Dalzell

California Appeals Court Curtails Internet Speech

In a stark conflict with the Fourth Circuit Court of appeals, the First Appellate District held an ISP or an individual liable for defamatory postings. The first of its kind ruling is an amazing reversal of a trend toward absolute immunity for ISPs.

The court's decision focuses on the intentional republishing of defamatory content. Surprisingly, the opinion spends several pages disagreeing with the Fourth Circuit's opinion. It remains to be seen whether yesterday's California ruling will be challenged. Lawyers on the case are still analyzing their clients' strategies.

The broader impact of this ruling will likely mean that speech on the internet will be chilled, and opinions stifled for fear of running afoul of this ruling. We'll see whether it stands.

In the meantime, watch what you republish out there.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, October 16, 2003


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