Wikipedia defamation charges dropped

Free speech versus "dumb" literary agent: free speech wins

In what is being called a "victory for free speech and user-generated content", Wikimedia, the owner of Wikipedia, has won a defamation court case in New Jersey.

The online user-generated encyclopaedia was being sued by literary agent Barbara Bauer, who filed libel charges against the site, as she was unhappy about an alleged description of her.

Her Wikipedia page apparently described Bauer as "the dumbest of the 20 worst" literary agents with "no documented sales at all".

Lack of liability

Wikipedia argued that it was immune to any liability under the US Communications Decency Act. This act states that websites can not be sued for content generated by web users.

This meant that Wikipedia could in effect shrug the responsibility of the words on to the person who wrote the piece for the site.

This is a landmark victory as it means that the owners of Wikipedia do not have to take responsibility for what is written on the site, essentially making the website immune to further defamation lawsuits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Content Team Lead

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, T3.com and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.