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Are bloggers “public figures”?

Wired writes:

“Can being mentioned on the net turn an ordinary citizen into a public figure with severely limited abilities to fight libel and defamation lawsuits? According to a Florida judge’s ruling — perhaps the first of its kind in the United States — the answer is yes.”

The story is about a woman, Eliza Thomas, who claimed that two TV stations defamed her.

“Judges often will look at media coverage to see if someone fits the criteria to be a public figure. But in the Thomas case, there hadn’t been any traditional media coverage; only internet denizens had been involved.”

But according to a law professor and media law specialist it was a bad decision “because Thomas didn’t act to inject herself into a public controversy — one of the criteria for determining a public figure”.

Question is how this applies to bloggers who actively participate in the online debate.

Posted in Other.



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