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Donato v. Moldow

Public Citizen’s brief as amicus curiae argued that even if anonymous Internet speakers do not appear in court through counsel to object to a motion by public officials seeking to identify them, the court has an independent duty to ensure that the plaintiff has a strong enough case to justify overriding their free speech rights. The brief also argued that citizen who runs web site cannot be held liable for allegedly defamatory or harassing messages posted by other persons on his web site’s message board. The trial court upheld the Does’ right to remain anonymous and, after further litigation, dismissed the action against the operator of the web site. On appeal, plaintiff did not pursue the identity of the Does, and the Appellate Division upheld the site operator’s immunity from suit.