Home > News > Calif. High Court Unlikely to Impose Liability for Online Speech • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

Calif. High Court Unlikely to Impose Liability for Online Speech

Calif. High Court Unlikely to Impose Liability for Online Speech
Get XBIZ News
Sep 8, 2006 7:01 AM PDT    Text size: 
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Justices of the California state Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in an online defamation case signaled that they were unwilling to impose liability on Internet service providers for the potentially libelous speech by third parties operating on their networks.

Attorney Christopher Grell, who represents the plaintiff, Stephen Barrett, faced stiff opposition from the seven-judge panel, with Justice Ming Chin saying that he was surprised by the plaintiff’s “startling lack of legal authority.”

According to Law.com reporter Mike McKee, Chin’s comments regarding Grell’s lack of legal authority seemed to speak for the entire court.

The case arises out of allegedly libelous statements made online by Ilena Rosenthal, a women’s health advocate, who published a letter by co-defendant Tim Bolen attacking Pennsylvania psychiatrist Stephen Barrett and Canadian doctor Terry Polevoy for their unfavorable views of alternative medicine.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Richman tossed the libel suit in 2001, but a San Francisco appellate court reinstated the case saying that an email from Barrett threatening to sue Rosenthal put her on notice that she could be held liable for publishing Bolen’s letter.

That ruling prompted a range of online companies, including Earthlink and Amazon.com, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to file amicus briefs on behalf of Rosenthal and Bolen, arguing that imposing liability after a potential plaintiff sends email notice threatening to sue could chill free speech.

"If, simply by receiving 'notice,' service providers were potentially liable for the unimaginable volume of third-party content that constantly flows through their services," the companies' lawyer, Samir Jain, said, "they would have little choice but to automatically and immediately take down and block third-party content in response to virtually all complaints."

Jain also told the court that notice-based liability would “unleash a heckler’s veto that would suppress swaths of entirely legitimate content.”

A ruling in the case is due within 90 days.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

OPINIONS & VIEWS

‘Alternative Facts’ of PC vs. Mac Users

Now that we live in a world of “alternative facts” it feels like somehow everyone has become a little more critical about what information and data they are digesting, and where it came from. Don’t... More »

Putting a Dollar Figure on Your Website's Worth

Daily, I get asked the question, “what’s my website worth.” And it’s the hardest question for me to answer. Someone will go to my website and fill out the contact form, put in... More »

New Solutions Require a Bullheadedness, Different Process

Each January we lead a small group of industry leaders on a tour of the crazy innovations at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. It’s a grind on our bodies. We all train for it beforehand.... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.

UPCOMING EVENTS

EXXXOTICA Denver

Mar 31 - Apr 02
Denver, CO.

Eurowebtainment 2017

May 17 - May 20
Majorca, Spain

XBIZ Retreat

May 30 - Jun 03
Miami, Florida

XBIZ Miami 2017

May 30 - Jun 02
Miami, Florida
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!