See you anon – in court

By | 19th August 2009

Blogs may not be as anonymous as some contributors have assumed or would like.

As a relative newcomer to the art of blogging, I woke up today to a salutary reminder that bloggers are not above or beyond the law when it comes to ‘ordinary’ standards of defamation and libel.  According to an aticle in the Times  ‘Vogue model Liskula Cohen wins right to unmask offensive blogger‘ an anonymous blogger in the US has posted less than flattering comments about a Vogue model called Liskula Cohen, to which Ms Cohen took grave exception. She applied to the court for an order that Google, the blog host in this case, disclose to her the identity of the blogger so that she could sue him/her for damages for defamation.

She won!

Judge Joan Madden, a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice ruled that Google should hand over the evidence of identity to her and rejected the blogger’s argument that blogs “serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting, and should not be treated as factual assertions”.

As it happens, contributors to the Smart e-Discovery blog are not anonymous, though it does remind us that moderating comments before they are published is a sensible precaution!