Judge Sides With Model Taking On Blogger

A Manhattan court ruling could change the way people blog on the Internet.

A judge ordered Google to release the identity of a blogger who trashed Vogue cover model Liskula Cohen on an anonymous blog called "Skanks in NYC," so Cohen can file a defamatory lawsuit against the author.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports the ruling is raising questions about how free speech will be on the Web.

Anne Salisbury, the blogger's attorney, is challenging Cohen's claims that she was unfairly trashed by her client last year on Google's Blogger.com site. But, Salisbury says, her client's defense is based on the Bill of Rights.

"These words are not actionable," Salisbury said. "They were not nice, they were insulting, offensive to some. That does not mean that the law provides redress for these insults. So the defense is really, this is free speech."

But Cohen insists the remarks damaged her reputation.

Steven Wagner, Cohen's attorney, released a statement saying, "It is our hope that this ruling will send a message that the Internet is not a safe haven for defamatory speech."

But will it discourage free speech on the web?

CBS News legal analyst Lisa Bloom said the ruling should be a "wake-up call" to bloggers.

"There's no anonymity. If you defame someone online, the Web company can be forced to turn over the information attached to your identity, your address, so that you can be sued individually."

Google told CBS News it releases user information only after a subpoena or court order, and did not release when they will turn over the blogger's name in this case.

Miller pointed out the ruling may make those on Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere on social networking sites think twice about what they post online.
  • CBSNews

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.