Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Judge orders website to give up info on anonymous comment-posters

ComputerWorld has a story about a case in Texas in which a judge has ruled that the First Amendment doesn't offer the right to libel someone anonymously. Tarrant County District Court Judge Dana Womack served a subpoena to to turn over any potentially identifying information it has on 178 people who had anonymously posted allegedly defamatory comments on the site about two individuals involved in a sexual assault case.
Mark and Rhonda Lesher were accused last year of the crime against a former client of Mark Lesher but were acquitted on all counts by a jury in January. In a lawsuit they filed (PDF document) against "John and Jane Doe" the Leshers claim that they were victims of "a vicious cyber-defamation campaign waged against them on". They claim that the comments were a form of persecution against them and that the anonymous posters had defamed them and tarnished their reputation, their standing in the community and their businesses.

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