Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Spokesman-Review must provide information that could identify an anonymous person leaving a comment court says

Good thing this blog doesn't keep the I.P. records of people leaving comments!

The Spokesman-Review must provide information that could identify an anonymous reader who typed a disparaging online comment about the chairwoman of the Kootenai County Republican Party in February, an Idaho judge ruled Tuesday.

The attorney for the chairwoman, Tina Jacobson, subpoenaed information about the identities of three Huckleberries Online readers who commented under assumed names below a photograph featuring Jacobson.

Under the name “almostinnocentbystander,” the commenter questioned whether $10,000 reportedly missing from the Kootenai County Central Committee might be “stuffed inside Tina’s blouse.”

Two other commenters, “Phaedrus” and “outofstatetater,” also typed comments responding to the original post about Jacobson’s blouse.

The comments were deleted from Huckleberries Online after S-R blogger Dave Oliveria discovered them, but the first post was visible for about 2 ½ hours.

In late April, Jacobson filed a lawsuit against “John and/or Jane Doe.” Her attorney, C. Matthew Andersen, subpoenaed the names of the commenters so the suit could proceed, and the newspaper responded with a motion to quash that request.

In a hearing last month, Jacobson’s attorney argued that his client’s reputation was hurt by the posts and sought to have the judge order the newspaper to provide identifying information about the people who made the comments.

The newspaper’s attorney, Duane Swinton, argued at the June hearing that the blouse comment “wasn’t nice” but that it was made on a blog site “where people express opinions, sometimes airing outrageous views.”

In his written decision, Judge John Luster pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled since 1942 that the First Amendment does not protect defamatory speech. “… while the individuals are entitled to the right of anonymous free speech, this right is clearly limited when abused,” Luster wrote.

He ordered the newspaper to give to the plaintiff “any document establishing the identity, e-mail address, and IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of ‘almostinnocentbystander.’”

However, Luster also ruled that the paper would not have to provide similar information for the two readers who commented on the original post, saying they did not abuse their rights to free speech “by making defamatory comments.”

Andersen, Jacobson’s attorney, said he was pleased by Luster’s ruling.

“The ruling is a reaffirmation of the historically long-standing legal rule that there is no constitutional protection for a defaming statement,” Andersen said. “The interesting twist in this is the application of that legal rule to an anonymous Internet commenter. That is the part that is refreshing.”

Gary Graham, editor of The Spokesman-Review, said he was disappointed with Luster’s decision but he has not yet decided whether the newspaper will pursue an appeal.

“However, we are glad the judge ruled that we don’t have to provide information about the two people who simply commented on the original posting,” he said.

In his ruling, Luster noted that Idaho, unlike many states, has no “shield law” protecting reporters. However, that doesn’t matter because the longtime journalist who oversees the Huckleberries Online blog, Oliveria, wasn’t acting as a reporter, but rather as a “facilitator of commentary and administrator of the blog.”

Under a clipping of a New Yorker cartoon, Luster said the court recognizes that the job description of a reporter has changed.

But “it is clear that Mr. Oliveria acted as an administrator of the blog when he removed the subject postings” and there is no indication that the information was intended to be used in a news story or editorial opinion piece, the judge wrote.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

My IP:

I.P. Daily! Piss away!

Court orders to uncover anonymous posters are nothing new. Each state has it's own rules.

Some times it is for good, others times it is over bullshit.

Interesting developments here, from the legal standpoint and what is argued and alleged.

Anonymous said...

Shaved are we safe on here?Are they gonna come and get us?

I Voted For Obama said...

Tina Jacobsen voted for Obama, then invited him to look into her blouse to determine if missing money was there. Michelle started throwing feces at her.

Anonymous said...

maybe the judge sucks dick.

Anonymous said...

I be Skeered, Oh does the slut have anything in that blouse like boob's? Shaved cab You get a pic of her massive mammery's?

Anonymous said...

Start by taking away the guns so when they tighten up the way we talk or think, nobody can fight back...Get ready for the new U.S.S.R.... United States Socialists Republic

Anonymous said...

Freedom of speech is going going fast. Hey asshole with her lawsuit...If you can't stand the heat get out of the fucking kitchen. Show Biz folks, politicians, and people with too much money are fair game as far as I am concerned. Fuck them. If you don't like it find another job or profession.

Anonymous said...

Tina Jacobson stuffs her blouse with my jizz filled spank rags.

Cum get me, you stupid bitch.

il Mustachio

Anonymous said...

My wife has an ass the size of a CTA double bus. Please don't reveal my IP.

Baraq Hussein Obuma

Anonymous said...

wouldn't bother me.they'd pull up in my drive way and before they could get out to arrest me they'd be full of holes.i'm a man of peace but fuck with me and my piece will empty out on you

Anonymous said...

fuck them use TOR browser and hide your IP.paranoid mother fuckers....

Heres MY IP Address...
ISP: Clearwire Corporation
Organization: Clearwire Corporation
Connection: Broadband
Services: None Detected
City: Chicago
Region: Illinois
Country: United States

Anytime you want to COME GET SOME.

I Voted For Obama said...

What Does IP mean?