- Internet service providers have been ruled exempt from US Laws that hold newspapers, magazines and broadcasters accountable for possible defamatory and libellous information they might publish.
A decision of a federal judge to dismiss America Online as a defendant in a $30m defamation lawsuit set the new precedent yesterday. Judge Paul Friedman ruled that the Decency Act of 1996 exempted Internet service providers from litigation.
The ruling came in a case filed by a White House adviser against AOL and online political gossip columnist, Matt Drudge, concerning a story published on AOL.
The story, concerning Sidney Blumenthal, was later retracted and an apology published.
The 1996 Act had initially been drafted to address the issues of pornography, limiting the liability of online service providers with regard to content on the Websites they carry.
In traditional media the publication of an untrue accusation could be the subject of a defamation or a libel case.