Monday, January 23, 2006

Law Firm's Defamation Claim Trumps Internet Anonymity

A state judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that a law firm's defamation claim trumps any First Amendment right to speak anonymously on the Internet, The Legal Intelligencer reports.

In a case brought by the law firm Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers, Common Pleas Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr. ordered the operator of two now-defunct Web sites to turn over the identities of the anonymous authors of allegedly defamatory comments on the sites.

According to The Legal Intelligencer, the judge found that free speech "is not absolute" and that "defamatory and libelous speech enjoys no constitutional protection."

Here is a link to the full text of the opinion.

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