Court Says Message Board Operators Not Liable for Libel

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A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that the operators of online forums are notresponsible for remarks made by users of their forums, even if those remarks rise to the level of defamation.

The case centered around the “Eye on Emerson” website, which purported to keep its eye on the town of Emerson, New Jersey.


Apparently a few of Emerson’s town council members took issue with remarks posted on the Eye’s website. Most specifically, to remarks which characterized one member as a “hate mongering political boob”, and another as a “fashion violation” and “Queen of Hate”. Following the posting of the remarks, in 2001, Emerson town council members Gina Calogero and Vincent Donato sued the site’s owner, Stephen Moldow.

Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, Calogero and Donato both resigned their council positions in 2002, and the Eye site is now off line.

Be that as it may, here in 2005 the Court as ruled that Moldow is not responsible for the remarks posted by his users, ruling that Moldow is protected by the 1996 Communications Decency Act which says, in relevant part, that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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