Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Medical Blogger Dr. Wes Subpoenaed Over Blog Comment

The New York Personal Injury Law Blog relays a incident involving a subpoena issued to a medical blogger related to anonymous comments made on his blog.

The incident involved medical blogger, Westby Fisher, MD (Dr. Wes), who was subpoenaed for a discovery deposition to determine whether he knew the anonymous commenter who left a comment on a post.

Interesting reading for medical and health care bloggers.

UPDATE: Kevin MD provides follow up commentary and his position on comment moderation. Any health bloggers looking at the advantages/disadvantages of blog post comment moderation should take a look at Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996.

Basically, Section 230 gives protections to users and providers of computer services by not making them liable for information published by another information content provider. As a blogger you can be both a user and provider. Bloggers are "users" when they create content for blogs and "providers" when they allow others to comment on blog posts. The legal question on comment moderation involves whether your active participating in moderating the comments makes you the "publisher" of the comment rather than just the "provider" of the comment. To date I don't believe this question has been fully addressed or answered by the courts.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has some great resource materials (and cases) for bloggers to learn more about the Section 230 protections. Check out the EFF "Legal Guide for Bloggers."

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