D.C. Appeals Court Sets New Standard for Unmasking Anonymous Online Speakers
By Anthony Kammer – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt
Solers, Inc. v. Doe, No. 07-CV-159 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 13, 2009)
On August 13, 2009, the D.C. Court of Appeals remanded Solers, Inc.’s case against an anonymous speaker and provided the lower court with a new standard for determining when an anonymous speaker’s identity may be revealed.
The Volokh Conspiracy notes that although the court limits its decision to defamation claims, the court’s logic would apply to many other forms of anonymous speech. The Citizen Media Law Project points out that this case is factually distinct from many online defamation suits because the comments at issue were not posted on a blog or other public platform. Newsroomlawblog covers the recent decision and has earlier reported that there is a growing trend for courts to protect anonymous speakers unless the plaintiff meets some elevated standard. Ars Technica and Exclusive Rights provide additional commentary.