23 October 2006

art bell threatens lawsuit over weblog comments

art b.s. bell has threatened to sue rogers cadenhead over comments posted by readers on cadenhead's workbench weblog:

Talk radio host Art Bell is threatening to sue me over comments posted by readers on Workbench.

At first I thought it was a hoax, but the emails check out. Writing from the Philippines with an email address at KNYE, the radio station he founded while living in Pahrump, Nev., Bell suggested several times he'd pursue a lawsuit in an email exchange that began Wednesday (full transcript)
Though I give readers wide latitude in the comments they post, I remove libelous comments when they're called to my attention, as I told him in our email exchange. But I'm under no legal obligation to do so, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
I'd prefer not to get sued, but if he wants to test Section 230 in court, I think it's a principle worth fighting for. The blogging medium thrives on its receptivity to reader feedback. I've taken 13,000 comments on Workbench and more than 300,000 on my other sites. If a blogger was treated as the author of every statement made by a reader, there would be no way to accept comments without reviewing each one prior to publication, turning a medium for boisterous public discussion into something as controversy-averse and excessively careful as a newspaper's letters to the editor section.
click the link to read more.