August 20, 2009
Today’s Sydney Morning Herald is doing the meltdown thing about a plaintiff, Liskula Gentile Cohen, successfully forcing Google to provide identifiers of a blogger. The ruling enables Cohen to identity the blogger that described her as a skank and an old hag. Actually the blogger said:
“I would have to say the first-place award for ‘Skankiest in NYC’ would have to go to Liskula Gentile Cohen,” the anonymous blogger wrote.
“How old is this skank? 40 something? She’s a psychotic, lying, whoring, still going to clubs at her age, skank.”
Very blogspeak. Cohen is planning on suing. In the Australian context there would be some interesting pleading challenges if one was to run a justification defence. But the US laws are far more difficult for the plaintiff, particularly if Cohen is regarded as a public figure. Cohen has apparently already made contact with the blogger by phone. They know each other.
The Times on line (UK) has run a similar theme to the Australian Press reports with Vogue model Liskula Cohen wins right to unmask offensive blogger, but it should know better. It identified Richard Horton, the Night Jack blogger, months ago and fended off his attempt to maintain anonymity publish his details prompting a breathless analysis in June under the banner Analysis: bloggers can no longer be sure on anonymity, The decision, by Mr Justice Eady, of The Author of a Blog v Times Newspapers Limited refusing an injunction to protect a blogger’s anonymity is hardly ground-breaking law.
There has never been a separate stand alone right to unmask/identify a blogger.
The interlocutory decision of the Manhattan Supreme Court sets no precedent. The case involves long established principles Read the rest of this entry »