Sources of online comments protected
- Blog Post by: Jane Friedmann
- February 22, 2012 - 6:01 PM
Whistleblower wrote recently about a local orthodontist who found a negative, anonymous online post aimed at him.
Does he have the right to know the identity of the person who made the comment? Courts across the country have grappled with that question, but another tent was pitched in the First Amendment right-to-pretty-much-remain-anonymous camp on Tuesday.
A person had sued the Indianapolis Star, among others, to force it to divulge the identity of a reader who posted a comment that alleged the plaintiff had stolen funds from a charity.
An Indiana appeals court ruled that a plaintiff must first make the case that a comment is defamatory. A court would then balance the commentator’s right to anonymous free speech against the merits of a defamation claim.
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