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No intermediary liability for bloggers

27 March, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Blogger haften nicht für Kommentare Dritter

Bloggers should not be considered liable for third-party comments on their posts in cases when they have not specifically intervened in the content at issue, as doing so would strongly affect freedom of expression.

This is the clear position of the EDRi-member Article 19 that comes in relation to a case now pending with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in which a Polish municipal councillor was sued because there had been allegedly defamatory comments to one of his posts, addressed to the mayor of the town, during the electoral campaign. Although the blogger removed the respective comments, the Polish courts ruled that he should be held liable for the comments on the basis of an electoral law and argued that running a website that allows such comments should be considered an action that is contrary to public policy and the principles of social coexistence.

On 19 March 2013, Article 19 filed third-party intervention submissions in this ECtHR case considering it significant for the issue of intermediary liability. In its opinion, “bloggers should not be considered responsible for third-party comments as publishers in circumstances where they have not specifically intervened in the content at issue. This is equally true when bloggers put in place a moderation system. To hold otherwise would have a serious chilling effect on freedom of expression.”

ARTICLE 19 to European Court: bloggers should not be liable for user-generated content (19.03.2013)

Personal interest, case I ACa 1273/11 (3.10.2011)

Blogger has won the case. He is not liable for Internet users' comments (3.02.2012)



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