Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finance Group v Cox - Is there a positive outcome?

Jesse Jenike-Godshalk wrote a pursuasive piece that the Finance Group v Cox ruling was not as bad as it seemed on first blush. First, the judge ruled that opinion based blog posts are covered by the First Amendment.

the judge stated that blog posts, by their very nature, are usually “opinions” and not provable assertions of fact. Such “opinion posts” are protected under the First Amendment and are not actionable as defamation—regardless of whether the writer is “media.”

The Judge wrote that the:

Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of
(1) any education in journalism;
(2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity;
(3) proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest;
(4) keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted;
(5) mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources;
(6) creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others;
or (7) contacting “the other side” to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not “media.”

This is very interesting. Except for points 1 and 2 these are standards that any blogger can meet. It points to ways independent writers can protect themselves: keep your notes and do your own research.

There's a lot more. If you're interested in the case I highly recommend reading the article.

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