E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over Comments Posted by Readers

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

Yesterday it was kind of a hectic day at work so I hardly had any time to prepare some weblogging material for my external weblog but if there was a particular story that grabbed my attention big time it surely was the article on the World Street Journal about “Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over Comments Posted by Readers”, and which was also referenced in /.: “Blog Faces Lawsuit Over Reader Comments”. Good reads overall if you want to try to get a good overview of what is happening and what people are thinking on this controversial subject.

But if you really want to have a good insight of what is happening I can certainly recommend you take it from the source directly and check out Aaron’s weblog post “Wall Street Journal Mentions Recent Lawsuit”.

The whole situation is something that reminded me why it took me so long to get started with my own external weblog and why, in the end, I decided to go for elsua as my hosting service. Main reason is that I am in control of the whole content that goes into my weblog, whether they are main weblog posts or comments to weblog posts. All of them go through my scanning eyes, first, to make sure that they are very valuable feedback that could benefit us all but at the same time that they do not pose any threat not only for myself but for my potential readers. I know that this may sound a bit silly but from the very beginning I decided that I need to take things under control to the point where there would be a safe environment where everybody would feel welcome and still be themselves participating further.

However, that does not mean that every now and then we may eventually bump into those undesirable cyber-trolls that just want to harm more than help enrich the conversations and allow people to learn from their interactions. So that is why I decided back then to restrict the possibility of who would be adding comments to my weblog posts, which is why people, first, would need to register and, secondly, every single comment goes into an Awaiting Moderation view where I can rather approve, delete or flag them as spam. That way I can try my very best to avoid situations like the one Aaron may be facing over the next few months and I do seriously hope for the best because otherwise the rest of us webloggers will certainly have to think about it twice how much control our audiences would potentially have in order not to harm the weblogger, the comment webloggers and the readers. I know it is a tough decision and it is probably impacting the total readership from my weblog, but as I have already mentioned earlier on elsewhere, I am not maintaining a weblog over here just to increase my readership. I am actually writing in this weblog hoping that a good bunch of readers would find it interesting. If that is the case then I would have fulfilled its purpose but if not that is also just as fine. That is what it takes to democratise the Internet: a voice for everyone.

Over the next few weeks, maybe months, I will certainly be following up on Aaron‘s case to see how it develops and I do sincerely hope that there is an agreement reached soon enough between all parties where everybody wins. We shall see how that goes. Fingers crossed !

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  1. Bloggers have been buzzing about the lawsuit, swapping links to Mr. Wall’s latest dispatches on the case and worrying about their own liability. Legal analysts said the suit could be a test case for determining what protections bloggers have or don’t have for allegedly defamatory material posted by others. At issue would be the court’s application of the federal Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that, broadly, protects providers of computer services from being held liable for content posted by others.

    In a key decision in 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the operator of a Web site can post material from others without liability for the content. “I think there’s a strong case to be made that [the Decency Act] applies to bloggers,” said Marc S. Martin, a lawyer with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP in Washington, D.C., who specializes in technology law. It “was written very broadly, and the Ninth Circuit interpreted it broadly.” Perception

  2. Thanks a lot for the feedback comments, Jeff, and welcome to elsua. I really appreciate you are providing us here with some further details on the case and sharing your valuable input. I am glad to hear that webloggers may still have a chance of being protected like they deserve and I am hoping as well that all this clears out itself so that we can continue to share information and knowledge with others that would be making the Internet ever so much more useful and close to the end-users. We shall have to keep an eye on how things develop and hope there is some common sense in place in the whole affair. Again appreciated the feedback and welcome aboard !

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