Last week, the Ninth Circuit held in Batzel v. Smith that website operators cannot be held liable for republishing the defamatory comments of others. Since then, many weblogs have ventured the bold proposition that this holding suggests bloggers cannot be sued for libel.
Wrong. Jack Balkin points out that bloggers can still be held liable for their own defamatory statements, just not for the libelous words of another. So we’re not completely off the hook.
Jeff Jarvis and Denise Howell discuss the possibility of developing a legal guide to defamation for bloggers. It’s a terrific idea, one that will allow one discrete area of the blogosphere to help out the rest. Count me in, folks.