Forum content is protected

Great news on the community front:

Nearly a year and a half ago, we wrote about a lawyer who was upset at being mocked on some Yahoo message boards — and tried to organized a class action lawsuit against the company and some of the posters. He was upset at Yahoo for (1) failing to stop these mocking posts, which he believed went against the company’s terms of service and (2) not providing accurate info about who the posters were. Apparently, he did get enough info to sue at least one user, Ron Long, who he believed was responsible for the mocking posts. Long’s lawyer, Joe Ribakoff writes in with an update: "In August ’04, you ran an article about a lawsuit filed against Yahoo by LA insurance lawyer Stephen Galton. The lawsuit complained that Yahoo was allowing people to mock Galton on a message board. Galton sued not only Yahoo. He also filed a defamation action against Ron Long, the person he believed had mocked him. The California Court of Appeals has now dismissed Galton’s lawsuit against Long. On December 22, 2005, it issued an unpublished decision that found that the messages mocking Galton were 1st Amendment protected speech. The Court also ordered Galton to pay Long’s attorney’s bill. The bottom line is: Mocking Stephen Galton is protected 1st Amendment speech. Galton may sue you, but he will lose and he will pay your attorney’s fees."

Terrific stuff, and a huge boon for online community.

(If you’re interested in the actual court docs, you can find them here)