Jim Hoft, First Things, and Libelous Accusations
Hateblogger Jim Hoft replies to my post pointing out that he linked to an antisemitic, anti-America Bulgarian conspiracy website, by lashing out and accusing me of “supporting child porn:” A New Low… Charles Johnson Now Supporting Child Porn in Classrooms & Fisting Kits at School Functions.
Eugene Volokh, professor of law at the University of California at Los Angeles’ School of Law, said the case serves as another reminder that online anonymity does not automatically provide immunity against libel charges.
Individuals who libel or defame others online, anonymously or otherwise, are just as exposed to lawsuits as they are in the physical world and cannot expect First Amendment rights to automatically protect them.
“Saying you’re a lousy professor is one thing. But saying you molest 13-year olds is completely different,” he said. Though one might use a pseudonym to conceal their true identity a court can force an ISP to unmask them in such cases, Volokh said.
Judges in other cases have shown a willingness to do just that if, in their opinion, the complaints had merit.