Thursday, December 29, 2011
Obisdian Finance Group v. Fox, ____F.Supp.2d____ (D. Or. Nov. 30, 2011), is an important case for us bloggers. Oregon has a statute which limits defamation damages unless a plaintiff first requests a retraction. The court held, however, that a internet blogger, was not protected under that statute and therefore, could not rely on that defense. The court also held that a blogger was not protected under that state's shield law which privileged journalists from revealing their sources.
It is hard to find fault with the court's decision. It was based purely on statutory interpretation. Though blogging is similar to other journalist type activities, it is different. The medium is different (internet) and you do not have to sell your story; rather you just put it out there. There are no professional organizations, educational degrees or regulations which govern blogging. In short, it is different. Perhaps this case will trigger legislation throughout the several states.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein