Delaware Supreme Court to Hear Blog Lawsuit (Blawgsuit?)
A lawsuit seeking to identify anonymous posters to a blog is to be heard by the Delaware Supreme Court. The case, filed by Smyrna Town, Delaware Councilman Patrick J. Cahill and his wife Julia, alleges that four anonymous posters to a community issues blog “defamed” the councilman and his wife in late 2004.
According to NewsZap, an initial request for disclosure to the lower New Castle County Superior Court was denied June 14. Lawyers for the anonymous defendants claim that the case is an important test of the First Amendment right to speak anonymously without fear of retribution.
Although blogs and bloggers are new to the lexicon, the concept of free and anonymous speech is not, said Drewery Fennell, executive director of the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union.
“Part of our whole system of commentary on government has always had a place for anonymous speech,” Ms. Fennell said.
“During Revolutionary War times, many of the writers of pamphlets (advocating revolution) were anonymous.”
The suit seeks to unmask the four posters, identified only as “John Does” and by their blog nicknames.
Guest Columnist Duncan Riley is the Editor of Blog Herald, more blog news more often.