DOE V. CAHILL: LEGAL STANDARD SET FOR DISCOVERY OF ANONYMOUS BLOGGER ID FOR DEFAMATION LAWSUITS

Regarding Internet Blogs, U.S. courts have been struggling to find a middle ground that, on the one hand, allows people to defend their reputations against smears by unidentified people, while still allowing anonymous persons to post opinions on the ‘Net. This article addresses how a person who feels they have been defamed by an unnamed blogger on the Internet may use the court to discover the true identity of the accused perpetrator and force a removal, a retraction, or institute a lawsuit. The legal maneuver for this was outlined in the case John Doe 1 v. John Cahill, an October 2005 Delaware Supreme Court action in which the court made a clarification of what standard it would hold plaintiffs to in terms of revealing an anonymous blogger’s identity. The court dropped the easy Good Faith standard and also refused to accept a middle standard, and has chosen a high threshold of proof before it will hand over a person’s ID, in the interest of preserving Free Speech Rights on the ‘Net. To examine this topic, we will answer these questions: What was the case John Doe No. 1 v. Cahill About? What is the Summary Judgment Standard? What are the Elements of Defamation?

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What Was the Case “John Doe No.1 v. Cahill” About?
What is the Summary Judgment Standard?
What is Defamation?

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