Google Defamation Suit in India Demonstrates Divide Over Freedom of Speech
Generally, the US is one of the most litigious countries in the world–like you needed me to tell you that. However, when it comes to defamation, it’s often a tough argument to win simply because the constitution promises citizens the freedom of speech–you won’t win, simply because you don’t like someone’s published opinion of you.
So, it’s interesting to see that Google has been sued by an Indian construction company, trying to get the identity of an anonymous blogger. The defamation lawsuit claims the blogger–known only as "Toxic Writer"–has attacked the company with his "hate campaign."
The blog has since been taken down and, at this point, we would normally see the likes of the EFF come to the defense of the blogger’s freedom of speech. Not so, outside of the United States. As John Watson, associate professor at American University specializing in communication law, tells Wired.com:
“One of the most common places for people to sue, because they will generally win, are nations that are or have formerly been part of the British Commonwealth, where there is no First Amendment, and the law looks more toward protecting the reputation of people than protecting the free speech of speakers,” Watson told Wired.com.
“Google which is an American corporation enjoys a great deal of protection here in the United States, but in the rest of the world, it’s subject to the laws of wherever these articles or communications are published,” he added.
We have a broad geographic audience at Marketing Pilgrim, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this subject. Should bloggers enjoy some kind of protection for their rants, opinions, and, sometimes, unsubstantiated claims? Or, should all bloggers be held accountable for their words?