Jun 30 2008
Barbara Bauer, named one of the publishing industry’s 20 Worst Literary Agents, has sued over 19 bloggers and website administrators for allegedly defaming her. The New Jersey Star-Ledger has reported on it, in part because Bauer is a local resident. Wikipedia and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website have been named as well as Preditors & Editors. I’m glad that Wikipedia lawyers are getting involved. They have alot of experience in this realm. To date, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has begun to be interpreted fairly broadly to immunize websites from the actions of its commenters (and in Wikipedia’s case, the actions of the webizens who edit it).
The individuals responsible for editing and commenting, however, do not have the same protections. The problem I think for Bauer is in defamation suits, an absolute defense of libel is the truth. Any of the defendants would have the right to prove that Bauer had no good reputation from her own acts. Her whole life will be under the microscope now ala Roger Clemens and his multitude of affairs that are now seeing the light of day.