Monday, April 21, 2014

"Bloggers all over the US are rejoicing as are we" ; Blogger Crystal Cox Gets Equal Rights for ALL Bloggers as Traditional Journalists, Institutional Press, Big Media.

"Crystal Cox is a blogger who wrote about the Obsidian Finance Group and their practices. She was not very flattering in her descriptions of the company and its principle owner. Obsidian sued Cox.
On January 14, 2011, Obsidian Finance Group, LLC, and Obsidian Senior Principal Kevin Padrick filed a defamation suit in Oregon federal court against blogger Crystal Cox. The complaint alleged that Cox had written a number of false and defamatory statements on her website,, and on “other websites.” The statements quoted in the complaint involve “tax fraud,” “fraud against the government,” “hir[ing] a hitman,” and other statements.
As the case wound through the Courts, a district court eventually decided that as a blogger, Cox did not warrant the First Amendment protections of a journalist.

Law professor Eugene Volokh and others signed onto to represent Cox.

On January 17, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court issued its decision giving Cox the same protection as a journalist. Interestingly enough, the decision was based in part on the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The Court wrote, in part:
The protections of the First Amendment do 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. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
Bloggers all over the US are rejoicing as are we.

The decision is short, so we are including it below the fold."