Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"SHE’S THE LAW: U.S. Court Rules Bloggers Get Same Speech Protections As Traditional Press"

"This ruling is very important as it relates to this era of online content and reporting, as it is first of its kind in the 9th Circuit, though other circuit courts have held that individuals have the same free speech rights as the news media.

What Does This Mean?:
According to UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, “This case is the first one from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers.” What this specifically means is that, a blogger will be held to the same standards and have the same rights as a “traditional” news entity and can’t be held liable for defamation unless they acted negligently. 
In terms of the case involved, the plaintiff, Obsidian, would have to show that the defendant had actual knowledge that the post was false when she published it. Additionally, the court held that the bloggers posts were so outlandish and outrageous, no one would have taken them seriously.
How Does This Affect You?:
We are witnesses to numerous sites, posts and information being authored and disseminated over the internet, with little to no determination or understanding of who is actually a member of the “institutional press.”
If you have a blog or website and are not deemed to be a member of the “institutional press” in the traditional sense, understand that you still may be held at the same esteem and garner the same rights as those who are, as it relates to free speech and what needs to be proven in order for certain claims and judgments to be ruled and enforced against you.