Donald Scarinci reports:
A New Jersey appeals court recently ruled that NJ.com does not have to reveal the identity of an online commenter. It also confirmed that the newspaper had standing to assert the anonymous poster’s First Amendment rights.
In the latest case, Diane Trawinski, the wife of former Elmwood Park borough councilman Rich Trawinski, filed a defamation suit after a poster on an NJ.com forum, known only as “EPLifer2,” suggested that she was posting comments under the screen name “IamEP”.
Of special note, the court’s decision that the site could assert its users’ First Amendment rights. Scarinci reports:
The Appellate Division also affirmed NJ.com’s standing to oppose the subpoena. While the panel acknowledged that New Jersey courts had yet to address whether online service providers can enforce the First Amendment rights of their users, it noted that several courts across the country had recognized the right.
Read more on NJ.com.
We need to make this the law of the land.