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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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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.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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