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February 11, 2009

Texas Judge Orders Site to Give Up Info on Anonymous Posters

There is a story in TechDirt regarding a Texas judge who has ordered the Topix web site to reveal the identity of 178 commentators.  They made statements about a couple accused and acquitted of sexual assault charges.  The article complains that the judge made the order too easily without investigating whether the statements were actually libelous.  I'm not so sure about that.  Some of the comments (described in a story in Ars Technica) are pretty dicey. It's important to protect anonymous commentary on the web, but libel is not protected by the First Amendment.  I've never understood why unfettered commentary on the Internet should be treated differently than other media.  In any event, the Texas Appellate Court and possibly the state Supreme Court can settle the issue with these defendants.  Let justice be done. [MG]

February 11, 2009 | Permalink

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