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Thursday, April 27, 2006

BlogLaw Notes: Evan Brown

Evan Brown on Defamation:

  • Evan reminded me after his talk that about a year ago I sent him a link to a funny California defamation case involving an online list of "Top Ten Dumb Asses," on which the plaintiffs were "listed as the number 1 and number 2 dumb asses, respectively." He opened by discussing this case and the differences between permissible opinion and actionable defamation.
  • Evan mentioned the fair reporting privilege defense to defamation claims, and also that consent is a defense. That struck me as one that could get interesting in a blogging case (e.g., what degree of consent might a link back to the allegedly defamatory remark convey?)
  • Discussion of New York Times v. Sullivan and the increased burden on a defamation plaintiff who is a public figure, i.e.: in order for the plaintiff in such a case to prevail the statement has to be false and made with actual malice. Dennis Crouch wondered about bloggers as public figures (here's a musty but related B&B post), and Evan pointed out there are cases where a plaintiff has been found to be a public figure "for a limited purpose."

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