Ashley Smith reports:
The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a free-speech case that calls into question whether media outlets can protect the identities of anonymous online commenters.
The case also has potentially broad implications in determining who constitutes the media in an Internet age that has blurred the line between traditional news outlets and bloggers or citizen journalists.
The complex case centers around a mortgage-industry watchdog Web site Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter that posts news from other sources about the housing finance crisis. Last fall, the site posted a story about a New Hampshire company, The Mortgage Specialists Inc., that was being investigated by banking officials for a number of alleged violations, including forging signatures, destroying documents and unfair or deceptive business practices.
Along with the story, Implode-O-Meter staff posted a confidential financial document MSI had prepared for the New Hampshire Banking Department, which was provided to them by an unnamed source. Some time later, a writer using the pseudonym “Brianbattersby” posted a comment on the site accusing MSI President Michael Gill of fraud.
Read more in the Nashua Telegraph.
The Citizen Media Law Project provides court documents in the case, The Mortgage Specialists, Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.