Amicus brief: ASNE supports Yelp in defamation case
ASNE has recently joined three amicus briefs filed in key court cases around the country. A little overview by the numbers: All three were drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, two are defamation cases, and one seeks access to court records; two cases emanate from California, and one is from the District of Columbia. A few weeks ago, we introduced the second amicus brief on access to court records. Today, we're sharing the last amicus brief:
We have Hassell v. Bird in which we support Yelp's opposition to a motion made by a defamation plaintiff that Yelp remove allegedly defamatory statements from its site, without offering Yelp the opportunity to appear in court and be heard. Both a California trial court and the intermediate court of appeals ruled against Yelp. In August 2016, we joined an "amicus letter" asking the California Supreme Court to hear the case. Now that the court has agreed to hear the case, we are joining this amicus brief on the merits. The brief argues that the lower court verdicts not only run counter to the important law known as "Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act," but also threaten the comment sections and discussion forums offered by news sites, which are often used to collect, confirm and further redistribute news and information. The result is likely that comments and online feedback are likely to be eliminated by many publications.