Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Court Rules Bloggers Have First Amendment Protection"

""A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages." USA Today

The internet has revolutionized how information is shared, and it is hard to imagine life before the 'world wide web'.  It was sixteen years ago that Jorn Barger coined the term"weblog".  Not long after that, Peter Merholz wrote the following in a sidebar on his weblog's home page: (link)
"For What It's Worth: I've decided to pronounce the word "weblog" as wee'- blog.  Or "blog" for short."
Blogging may have had a slow start, but in recent years it has really taken off!  Perhaps you are wondering how many blogs exist.  Eric Pangburn conducted some research and recently shared his findings shows it has over 101.7 Million blogs with 44.6 Billion blog posts has over 63 Million blogs
Livejournal reports to have 62.6 million blogs with
Weebly states it has over 12 million blogs
Blogster has over 582,754 blogs
Obviously, blogging is here to stay… 
In case you haven't heard, an important ruling was handed down last Friday by a federal appeals court that directly impacts all bloggers.  According to Reuters:
A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently…"
The law professor explained that these kinds of cases are usually settled without trial and to see one reach the federal appeals court level was rare.
After the ruling in favor of Cox, her attorney (Volokh) had this to say:
"It makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists," he said. "There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers."
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