1993-08-18 - Re: The Zen of Anonymity

Header Data

From: Matt Blaze <mab@crypto.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 7cf9fa340f89dc11dc93fd27a093f5a236a122c2a309c0a15d821f68c6f6e7ff
Message ID: <9308181645.AA01889@crypto.com>
Reply To: <9308181448.AA22436@soda.berkeley.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-08-18 16:55:42 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 18 Aug 93 09:55:42 PDT

Raw message

From: Matt Blaze <mab@crypto.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 93 09:55:42 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: The Zen of Anonymity
In-Reply-To: <9308181448.AA22436@soda.berkeley.edu>
Message-ID: <9308181645.AA01889@crypto.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>In libel cases specifically, if you can prove who the author was, you
>can sue.  If you can't, too bad.  Heh, heh, heh.

Be careful here - this does not allow third parties a blanket escape
from liability simply by disclaiming authorship.

As I understand the law of defamation, who *wrote* the words is not all
important; the issue is who is publishing or otherwise causing them
to be published (which would ordinarily include, but not be limited to,
their author).  For example, in NY Times v. Sullivan (the case that
established a different standard of defamation for public figures),
the NY Times didn't write a story, they simply carried an ad that claimed
abuse of power by some officials (in Georgia, I think).  Although it is
often easier to show that the author of defamatory words knew or should
have known them to be false (part of what you need to prove to win a
libel case), liability does not end there.

Knowingly repeating words you should know to be defamatory is still

>I asked Mike Godwin about this specifically a few months ago.  I
>mention him here to give him to opportunity to correct or elaborate.