The internet has been described as the wild west of the fast expanding public communications frontier. A libel suit filed just about a month ago against a Brattleboro website could help define the shape of law and order in this new legal territory. The site itself, is a new idea: an online community news website that describes its contributors as "citizen journalists."
Someone made some allegedly libelous comments on the site, about a co-worker’s personal life. Now the woman who believes her reputation has been damaged is suing – not only the person who made the online comments but the operators of the website for allowing the comments to be posted.
Oliver Goodenough is a Professor at Vermont Law School and an expert in communications and libel law. He spoke with VPR’s Jane Lindholm about the case.