Sunday, February 2, 2014

"9th Circuit Applies Same First Amendment Protections to Bloggers as Traditional Media" Obsidian v. Cox is a MAJOR win for ALL.

"Obsidian is a major win for individuals who blog, share, tweet and otherwise publish their views online. While the Court initially framed the question as “What First Amendment protections are afforded a blogger sued for defamation?” (emphasis added), its decision applies the First Amendment protections it has bestowed on “institutional media”to all “individual speakers” or “other speakers.” 

The Court stated that the applicability of such protections does not turn on “whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.”

Under this reasoning, an individual blogger, website operator or social media users speaking publicly on the Internet enjoys the same First Amendment protections from defamation claims as traditional media publishers.

At the same time, the Ninth Circuit’s affirmance of the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims as to most of Cox’s statements continues a judicial trend of taking the context and atmosphere of the Internet into account in distinguishing opinions from factual statements. "