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California court rules bloggers not liable for republishing defamatory statements

[JURIST] The California Supreme Court [official website] ruled Monday that the 1996 Communications Decency Act [PDF text - see Title V] protects online users, including bloggers, who republish defamatory statements written by others from liability. Citing First Amendment concerns, the court said in its opinion [PDF text] that plaintiffs claiming defamation can bring suit only against the "original source of the statement." The court said holding bloggers liable for republished material "would provide a natural incentive to simply remove messages upon notification, chilling the freedom of Internet speech."

The lawsuit was filed in 2000 by two doctors against Ilena Rosenthal for allegedly distributing defamatory materials online. CNET News has more.

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