Remember, the Constitution is a living, breathing document. Or something.
A Steubenville sexual assault case that divided the football-centric town this summer has also sparked a First Amendment debate over the sharp opinions shared online about some of the student athletes who were rumored to be involved.
Should people who comment online anonymously be held legally responsible for what they say? Or, are online comments protected free speech?
Steubenville football player Cody Saltsman and his parents, Johna and James, sued a blogger and up to 25 anonymous online commenters in October, saying they made false and defamatory statements about the teen on a website. The Saltsmans asked a local judge to prevent the blogger and others from making any more statements about them and to remove the ones already posted. (H/T – Vicki)
In light of my recent blog suspension, this story struck a nerve. The story is a week old, and the blogger involved saw the defamation lawsuit dismissed. That’s not the point. The point is that the pendulum is turning away from bloggers, commenters, and other online interactions.
Mark my words, the internet will be regulated – including registration for blogging and commenting – and it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.