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SLAPPing e-Publius: Protecting anonymous expression and reputation in a digital age
Unformatted Document Text:  Running  head:  SLAPPing  e-­‐Publius     34   and thereby gain the power of the court's order to discover their identity.” 120 The Seescandy.com decision celebrated the “open communication and robust debate” that is possible when “all the facts about one’s identity” are not known. 121 DiMeo v. Max (2006), a case in Pennsylvania, underlines the dangers to online expression posed by corporate entities willing to run up a defendant’s court costs simply to silence a critic. Emails presented during this case’s hearing showed that the plaintiff was fully aware of the censoring power of even the threat of litigation. 122 Conclusion After examining the difficulty in balancing a person’s or corporate entity’s right to reputation against another’s right to anonymous expression online, it is clear that a takedown notice for online defamation similar to that legislated as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act would be too suppressive of otherwise protected speech, and that criminalizing online defamation no longer has any basis in the law. In making these arguments, this paper also examined imbalances created by, among other things, ISP immunity and the lack of uniformity among state-level anti-SLAPP statutes, and some steps that can be taken to redress these imbalances. Free speech is too vital to democracy, and as the manifesting of liberty of thought,                                                                                                                 120 Columbia Insurance v. Seescandy.com, 185 F.R.D. 578 (N.D. Cal. 1999). 121 Id. 122 DiMeo v. Max, 433 F.Supp.2d 523, 533 (E.D. Pa. 2006). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, which the court granted with prejudice.

Authors: Carroll, Brian.
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Running  head:  SLAPPing  e-­‐Publius  
 
34  
and thereby gain the power of the court's order to discover their identity.”
120
 The 
Seescandy.com decision celebrated the “open communication and robust debate” that is 
possible when “all the facts about one’s identity” are not known.
121
 DiMeo v. Max 
(2006), a case in Pennsylvania, underlines the dangers to online expression posed by 
corporate entities willing to run up a defendant’s court costs simply to silence a critic. 
Emails presented during this case’s hearing showed that the plaintiff was fully aware of 
the censoring power of even the threat of litigation.
122
  
 
Conclusion 
After examining the difficulty in balancing a person’s or corporate entity’s right to 
reputation against another’s right to anonymous expression online, it is clear that a 
takedown notice for online defamation similar to that legislated as part of the Digital 
Millennium Copyright Act would be too suppressive of otherwise protected speech, and 
that criminalizing online defamation no longer has any basis in the law. In making these 
arguments, this paper also examined imbalances created by, among other things, ISP 
immunity and the lack of uniformity among state-level anti-SLAPP statutes, and some 
steps that can be taken to redress these imbalances.  
 
Free speech is too vital to democracy, and as the manifesting of liberty of thought, 
                                                                                                               
 
120
 Columbia Insurance v. Seescandy.com, 185 F.R.D. 578 (N.D. Cal. 1999). 
 
121
 Id. 
 
122
 DiMeo v. Max, 433 F.Supp.2d 523, 533 (E.D. Pa. 2006). The defendant 
filed a motion to dismiss the 
case for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, which the court granted with prejudice. 
 


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