In a victory for bloggers, newsgroup participants and other Web publishers, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that individual Internet users cannot be held liable for republishing defamatory statements written by others.
The unanimous ruling appears to be the first to make clear that a 1996 law called the Communications Decency Act protects not only providers, but also users of online services who redistribute content.
The justices acknowledged that “recognizing broad immunity for defamatory republications on the Internet has some troubling consequences.” But unless Congress revises the law, anyone who claims to be defamed by an Internet posting may seek damages only from the “original source of the statement,” they wrote.
Photo by Ben Brown.
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