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Court Upholds 1st Amendment Rights for Bloggers! (Big Win for Bloggers!) February 14, 2014

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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AppealsCourtAccording to an article in USA Today, On January 17th, 2014 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “..bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.”  At a high level, the Appeals Court ruled that Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.  What does this mean?  Quite simply if you want to blog about a company, public figure, or anyone else and your blogs are in the ‘public interest’ and not driven by malice and are not negligent, then you have a right to do so without being sued for defamation.  The court said specifically: “Because Cox’s blog post addressed a matter of public concern, even assuming that Gertz is limited to such speech, the district court should have instructed the jury that it could not find Cox liable for defamation unless it found that she acted negligently,” judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote. “We hold that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages.”

This is a great ruling for bloggers and individuals as it protects their comments and opinions under the 1st Amendment.  

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