The prior post about challenges to anonymous bloggers and sniping commentors put me in touch with the recent ruling allowing a defamation claim to be pleaded against a commentor to a blawg. The ruling, on Leap Day, in Document Security v. Adler Tech. 03CV6044 (W.D.N.Y.) grants, over objections, a “supplemental” pleading that amends and adds a counterclaim and a new party. The gravamen of the allegation is that plaintiff’s personnel posted a comment on Philip Brooks’ fine IP blawg, which related to facts and disputes in the parties’ litigation. The Judge agreed the amendment would result in “delay,” but “plaintiff has not set forth the exact prejudice it will suffer if this defamation counterclaim is allowed.”
It is possible that depositions will address the new, defaming claim. In a given circumstance, the blawg itself may need to provide information. What then becomes of commentary? Blawgers have to moderate comments, and not post those with too much of an ‘edge.’ Is blawging to become less like Speakers’ Corner in London, where free and open dialogue was allowed, but no one was exposed to suit?