Monday, December 22, 2014

Crystal Cox Ninth Circuit; "Bloggers have rights, too: Column"

"A website that castigates others as "evil doers" and "thugs" has exactly the same First Amendment protection as USA TODAY and The New York Times— and that's a good thing.
In a landmark decision on Friday, a federal appellate court held for the first time that blogs enjoy the same First Amendment protection from libel suits as traditional news media.
At issue were the blog posts of Crystal Cox, who accused Bend, Ore., attorney Kevin Padrick and his firm Obsidian Finance Group of misconduct in connection with his role as a trustee in a bankruptcy case. A jury awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million in damages.
But the U.S Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit saw things differently, deciding that Cox's allegations were matters of public interest and that to sue her successfully, Padrick would have to prove her negligence — the same standard that applies when news media are sued. "The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist," Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote.
While the Supreme Court has previously observed that the lines between traditional news media and Web content have become blurred, this makes the first time a federal appellate court has said that journalists and bloggers are one and the same when it comes to the First Amendment."

More on the Crystal Cox Ninth Circuit Case