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A California judge reversed decision allowing anonymous persons on net to remain anonymous

A California judge in the Sixth Appellate District in Santa Clara County last week ruled that anonymous trolls on the Internet are allowed to stay anonymous.  Along with remaining anonymous, Internet trolls are able to say what they like, by exercising their First Amendment rights, no matter how belittling is it.

 According to Reuters, the appeals court reversed a decision from 2006 that would have subpoenaed ten anonymous posters on Yahoo’s message board by the COO of a drug service company, Lisa Krinsky.

The 2006 court case held that ten anonymous message board posters left quite a few harsh comments on the Internet regarding Krinsky, her company, and two officers at her company. One comment referred to Krinsky saying, "I will reciprocate felatoin [sic] with Lisa even though she has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, 'queefs' and has poor feminine hygiene."

Doe 6, a tag given to the anonymous posters, days later moved in superior court to quash the subpoena.  The defendant claims that Krinsky had “failed to state a claim sufficient to overcome his First Amendment rights for either defamation or interference with a contractual or business relationship” and that her “request for injunctive relief was an invalid prior restraint”.

In 2006, the superior court proposed that the statements made by Doe 6 had the intent of driving down the price of Krinsky’s company to manipulate the stock price.  The court, even with the claim and information, decided that Doe 6 was protected under their First Amendment rights.  Due to the context of the statements, they are not actionable under Florida’s defamation laws.

The controversy over Internet anonymity will continue to be fueled by contexts of libel and First Amendment rights but will, at least, allow the contexts of these actions to be narrowed down.

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By mellondust on 2/12/2008 4:43:02 PM , Rating: -1
Why am I not suprised this is coming out of California. Seems most of the idiotic rulings originate there. Glad to not live there anymore.

RE: California.
By sprockkets on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By mdogs444 on 2/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: California.
By smitty3268 on 2/12/2008 6:59:27 PM , Rating: 3
Executing someone costs about 10 times more than leaving them in prison for the next 50+ years. You can argue that it shouldn't be that way, but it's reality.

RE: California.
By shabby on 2/12/2008 8:23:01 PM , Rating: 1
One bullet cant be that pricey... can it?

RE: California.
By Polynikes on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By C'DaleRider on 2/12/2008 8:54:28 PM , Rating: 2 he doesn't. It is horribly more expensive to execute someone than it is to let them live out their lives in confinement. This is, of course, due to the fact that the death penalty carries with it an automatic appeal when the death penalty is handed down, and then the several other appeals that go onward after the mandatory first one.

And since, typically, it is a court-appointed attorney that carries on all these appeals, we, the tax-paying public, ends up footing the bill for the repetitive appeals, just like we pay for long-term incarceration. But, the appellate process has paid off for a few, esp. in cases where DNA evidence has ultimately overturned a guilty conviction.

So, we pay in either case, but it is indeed much more expensive to put someone to death than it is to house and feed them for life.

RE: California.
By Polynikes on 2/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By jtemplin on 2/13/2008 9:21:53 AM , Rating: 3
These public servants are on salary and get paid regardless. Your argument falls flat.

RE: California.
By Polynikes on 2/13/2008 10:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well, gee, then why don't we just stop putting people in jail, since it costs taxpayer so much money?

RE: California.
By mcturkey on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By poohbear on 2/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By werepossum on 2/22/2008 7:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
You know, if we outsourced the process to China, we'd just be paying for the bullet. Shipping TO China is dirt cheap, since most of the container ships go back empty anyway.

Interestingly, I just spoke with a manufacturer's rep about that same thing. Turns out it costs exactly the same to ship a container to China as it does to ship one from China. ($500 per container if you're interested.)

The only thing I can figure is that those containers must be filled with cash on the way back. Well, cash and government bonds, since the cash has lost half its worth by the time it gets there...

RE: California.
By peterb123 on 2/13/2008 1:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't cost much if they let a mob execute them.

RE: California.
By Ringold on 2/12/2008 6:01:23 PM , Rating: 1
love to execute people?

That's bad?

Hear about those Chinese industrial spies we caught just recently? I for one vote for public hangings. At the very least, firing squad. The one guy might be 72, but age is no factor in the face of justice.

RE: California.
By feraltoad on 2/12/2008 6:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think we should give them a free flight to China. We just won't land when we "let them off". :)

RE: California.
By smitty3268 on 2/12/2008 7:01:34 PM , Rating: 5
Jesus would be proud.

RE: California.
By jconan on 2/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: California.
By wackie999 on 2/13/2008 12:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
And what exactly would be the desire in such an act?

RE: California.
By feraltoad on 2/12/2008 6:14:15 PM , Rating: 3
I think you forgot that California loves to execute people WITH sex toys.

RE: California.
By SavagePotato on 2/12/2008 6:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
That's Seattle, Good old Mr Hands.

But wait that was execution by equine.

Same premise though.

RE: California.
By Nanobaud on 2/13/2008 11:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but Seattle is pretty much a California territory anymore.


RE: California.
By saiga6360 on 2/12/2008 4:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
The appellate court concluded that while Doe 6's messages were "unquestionably offensive and demeaning," they could not be counted as defamation since they could not be considered assertions of fact.

Well to their credit, I think they were merely interpreting the law as reasonably as possible. The First Amendment is what allows us to bash each other anonymously but there are limits that not only trolls but anyone in a forum must be careful of asserting.

RE: California.
By TomZ on 2/12/2008 5:10:47 PM , Rating: 4
How is this ruling "idiotic"? Seems to me that it helps reinforce our expectation of privacy and our ability to freely express ourselves without fear of intimidation through abuse of the legal process. What's bad about that?

RE: California.
By Lord Evermore on 2/13/2008 7:41:57 AM , Rating: 4
Seems to me that claiming someone's medical degree is fake is actually libelous. The rest of it is just unsubstantiated idiocy.

RE: California.
By kkwst2 on 2/13/2008 8:17:39 AM , Rating: 1
Oh come on. It was an anonymous rant. Would you actually believe some ass who says someone's degree is fake right after they use the word Queef?

To me, the fact that it even went to court is outrageous, unless there is more to this story than what is posted here. Is it now a crime to be an asshole? We've become a society of complete pansies!

RE: California.
By clovell on 2/13/2008 12:28:54 PM , Rating: 1
Though there would be less assholes if it wasn't a crime to land a hard right hook on them. There's a sort of imbalance that has allowed assholes to proliferate - because we are pansies.

RE: California.
By Mojo the Monkey on 2/12/2008 5:15:38 PM , Rating: 1
So its your position that First Amendment protection for insults is a bad thing? and that this a wacky ruling? Care to explain your reasoning?

I think you were just looking for an excuse to be heard and give your irrelevant opinion about your (limited) knowledge of judicial rulings in California.

RE: California.
By uhgotnegum on 2/12/2008 5:16:07 PM , Rating: 4
Please elaborate...

It seems obvious to me that you don't approve of the decision. Was it the court's position that being able to publish anonymously is an aspect of the freedoms found in the First Amendment? Perhaps you were disappointed over the court's adoption of a balancing test that favors providing a means of redress but not compromising when it comes to allowing the freedom to communicate over the internet with others. Would you have ruled that a different balancing test is more appropriate in this matter--the Dendrite case, for example, which the court felt required even greater scrutiny of a plaintiff's cause of action before requiring identification of the speaker? I doubt you really had a "beef" with the prima facie requirements of libel--it's fairly well established, though does evolve as the internet expands (and for that matter applied Florida law, not California). Could it be that your opinion falls more on the side that discussion forums can result in stock manipulation, and the court should have brought this issue to the forefront?

Maybe I should go on, but I think by now it's perfectly clear that your blanket statement that most "idiotic rulings" come from California was mostly based on an inability to adequately censor yourself before posting an opinion that only adds to this discussion by providing me an opportunity call you and your post...


Then again, if want to take the time to read (reread?) the opinion and discuss with more specificity, I'll check back with you later.

RE: California.
By TomZ on 2/12/2008 5:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
^-- yeah, what he said. :o)

RE: California.
By uhgotnegum on 2/12/2008 5:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for providing the perfect complement to my exaggerated attempt to make a point; it brings the mood back to normal quite nicely. ;)

RE: California.
By walk2k on 2/12/2008 9:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
Nice, but it's pearls before swine I'm afraid.

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