WSJ.com - Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over Comments Posted by Readers
WSJ.com - Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over Comments Posted by Readers:
Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over
Comments Posted by Readers
BY DAVID KESMODEL
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
August 31, 2005
In a legal case being watched closely by bloggers, an Internet company has sued the owner of a Web log for comments posted to his site by readers.
Traffic-Power.com sued Aaron Wall, who maintains a blog on search engine optimization � tactics companies use to get themselves to appear higher in searches at Google, Yahoo and elsewhere � alleging defamation and publication of trade secrets. The suit, filed in a Nevada state court earlier this month, also listed as defendants several unnamed users of the blog.
At issue are statements posted in the comments section of Mr. Wall's blog, SEOBook.com. Many blogs allow readers to post comments, often anonymously, and Mr. Wall's blog included several reader submissions that blasted tools sold by Traffic-Power.com.
Traffic-Power.com said in the suit that confidential information about the company has been published on the blog, and it accused Mr. Wall of publishing 'false and defamatory information,' but it didn't identify any of the material in question.
Legal analysts said the case falls into somewhat murky legal territory, but that Mr. Wall may have some protection from liability under federal law. Courts generally have held that the operators of computer message boards and mailing lists cannot be held liable for statements posted by other people. Blogs might be viewed in a similar light, they said.