Bloggers Now More Protected Under First Amendment

by Jason Stotts

An issue close to my heart is my ability to speak my mind freely on anything I want and to know that my first amendment right to do so protects me if someone doesn’t like what I have to say.  Unfortunately, the law and technology are never in sync and there has been some confusion about what kinds of protections bloggers have for the things that we say.

I’m happy to announce, though, that this issue has been resolved in the right way.  I’m not a lawyer, so read Popehat’s account of it here, where he says that:

The Ninth Circuit’s opinion protecting Cox’s free speech rights also protects your rights. The ruling means that if someone sues you for something you write or say, your First Amendment protections will not turn on whether a judge views you as a “professional journalist.” Rather, the same legal protections that have traditionally been applied to the New York Times will apply to you. That is a substantial comfort, particularly because many jurists are not familiar with things like blogs. The ruling also robustly protects your right to express how you feel, using vivid language, by maintaining that only provable statements of fact are defamatory, and hyperbole and rhetoric are not.

The whole context of the case is a very interesting read, but not entirely germane to the topic here.  You can also find a summary on Reuters.

Basically, I’m just thrilled that blogs are protected speech and that I won’t need to worry about accidental defamation when I criticize different people for their silly behavior or beliefs.

  1. No Comments