Legal Decision Protects Free Speech in Blogs & Forums

In a legal judgement rendered on Monday, the California courts stated that  “people who contend they were defamed on the Internet can seek recovery only from the original source of the statement, not from those who re-post it.” This legal decision is excellent in my opinion!

Here is a link to the complete judgment for those of you with nothing better to do 😉 (heh, says me who posted this).

Why did I write about this? Well over the past couple of years I have been asked by several high-profile clients (who shall remain anonymous) to help them find ways to bury libel comments that have appeared high in search engine rankings. I accepted only one of these contracts but under the condition that I would only provide ethical SEO (search engine optimization) services. Anyway, I ended up providing some options to push down such comments which was the only thing I found I could do; although the concepts were sure to work with time. In an effort to conduct this research I became aware of some of the legal issues that my client was facing regarding their defense of forum libel comments; apparently forum posts were very difficult to attack from a legal perspective.

In short, this latest judgement appeared very topical and triggered a great deal of interest on my part. I realize this type of ruling is a double-edged sword but I believe it is worth it if freedom of speech is protected.