Fashion Model’s Application to Unmask Anonymous Blogger Threatens First Amendment Protections for Online Comments
A hearing on the motion to reveal the anonymous blogger’s identity is scheduled for
“Despite its seemingly petty underpinnings, this case carries serious implications,” says
Anonymity and the Internet
The Cohen proceeding could potentially have a chilling effect on anonymous commentary made all over the Internet. “Ideas are exchanged freely on the Internet in large part because participants can speak using assumed names or no name at all,” says Ms. Guzov. She adds that anonymity not only encourages democratic discourse and allows dissenters from majority opinion to share their minority views, but it also provides vital protection from the fear of political, economic or even physical retribution for espousing those views.
“The Internet has become the predominant forum in modern society for the free exchange of ideas and opinions, however absurd, profane, insulting or rhetorical,” says
Courts all over the country have already ruled that words such as “skank,” “pimp,” “tramp” and “douchebag” are not defamatory, especially in the context of blogs and other online commentary. “Context matters,” Ms. Guzov notes. “Indeed, in this particular case, no reasonable person visiting a web site entitled ‘Skanks in NYC’ would expect to find assertions of verifiable facts.”
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