Friday, April 28, 2006

Maine blogger faces lawsuit

From today's Boston Globe:
"A coastal Maine blogger who criticized the state's tourism office has been hit with a lawsuit seeking potentially more than $1 million in damages for allegedly making false statements and posting on his website, Maine Web Report, images from proposed tourism advertisements a New York agency prepared for Maine officials.

"The case raises the issue of how free speech protection will be applied in the proliferating world of weblogs, or blogs, and underscores the growing influence of bloggers on business and government."
The blogger, Lance Dutson, has more on this as well as a list of other blogs that have written about the case.


Foy Smith said...

The founding fathers promoted the concept of the market place of ideas and the internet is the fully realized forum. Currently thanks in large part to the internet we have the technology to access information much faster and more efficiently than in years past. This blogger state has enlarged the definition of the word Journalist to encompass those who disseminate information view the World Wide Web. It seems that those that participate in blogging are actually fulfilling the great vision that the founders had of a society where the free exchange of ideas where not inhibited by government interference. Laws placed on blogging should recognize that is the ultimate expression of the architects of the Constitution. As news has become more readily available, we are no longer slaves to the 5 o’clock news. Anyone can access information and transmit that information on a global scale. It is for this reason that blogging is in the same vein as journalist, and bloggers should have the same freedom to report and share news as those who do so in a more conventional environment.

Foy Smith

Anonymous said...

I believe the law precludes a government entity from recovering for defamation.

Bob Ambrogi said...

It is the private advertising agency that is suing for defamation, not the government.

Whitney said...

Opinions are not seen as defamatory, however simply stated that it was his opinion does not make it o.k. The US Supreme Court has said that "in the context of defamation law, the rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals and organizations engaged in the same activities." The ability for advertising agency to prove the comments made on his website as defamation rather than opinion will be more difficult than suing for "false light" because of the photos included with the information.

Anonymous said...

Although everyone has the right of free speech, it is hard to express your opinions on the web, because it seems the the internet has become a similar source to a newspaper and when you state something that isn't true you have to suffer the consequences. I think he is going to have a hard time winning this case even though he was negligent in what he was writing.