And, more on owning your own words…

September 14, 2009

This is gonna be brief, because believe it or not, I’m actually pretty swamped today… with, like, real work stuff.

An online buddy and follower of this blog pointed me to an article by Hudson Sangree (what a fucking great writer name that is!) at the Sac Bee that ran today:

UC Davis case shows how Web comment anonymity’s not absolute

This makes and supports my point, brilliantly: There are cases and situations in which I agree that anonymous speech should be protected speech – BUT – in cases where the commenter is hiding behind anonymity to harass, defame or perform other illegal action, that protection should be suspended.

It is one thing to be vigorously critical, but it is another to be someone who uses the platform of anonymity so they can say and/or do things which are illegal or harmful to others.

Things they would never say or do if they had to be accountable for what they were saying or doing.

My favorite passage:

“The court said the First Amendment generally protects anonymous speech, even though the Internet’s informality leads many ‘to substitute gossip for accurate reporting’ and engage in ‘harsh and unbridled invective.’

But where plaintiffs can make a plausible case for defamation, the justices ruled, online anonymity may be breached. ‘When vigorous criticism descends into defamation,’ they wrote, ‘constitutional protection is no longer available.”‘

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