A US court ruling declared this week that owners of websites or blogs are not answerable to libelous comments posted on them. Instead, the original source of such comments are liable.
In jurisprudence, this sets a precedence that other courts might follow (Philippine courts often cite US laws to defend some cases). Amy Gahran of the Poynter Institute had this to say:
If you allow comments on your site, breathe easier. On Nov. 20, the Calif. Supreme Court decided that online publishers cannot be sued for posting or distributing libelous material written by others.
“Plaintiffs who contend they were defamed in an Internet posting may only seek recovery from the original source of the statement,” wrote Justice Carol Corrigan in the court opinion.
She added that “people who make defamatory statements on others’ sites and blogs are not off the hook — they still can be sued for libel.”
This law currently applies only to lawsuits filed in California.
“But that state’s Supreme Court is considered highly influential on media law, so it may well carry weight around the US,” she added.
To know more about this landmark decision, go to Electronic Frontier Foundation.