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A victory for anonymous free speech online

Another strike against the Digital Millenium Copyright Act! The anonymous owner of a real estate gripe site had had the site’s page removed by his ISP when the subject of the gripes — the real estate agency — complained it violated the agency’s copyright. No so, says the judge. The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Patrick O’Donnell reports:

A Web site dedicated to criticizing a Lorain County home builder won a court battle last month to stay on the Internet. Just as significantly, the owner maintained his ability to run the Web site anonymously.

The home builder in question, Powermark Homes, Inc., took exception to the site Powermark Homes Alert and its url, www.powermarkhomessucks.com. Public Citizen attorney Greg Beck argued on behalf of the site’s owner (“John Doe” in court documents).

The article continues:

Greg Beck, a lawyer who backed the Web site through the public interest group Public Citizen, said that barring an appeal, the site will remain up. He said that preserving the right to anonymous speech — whether to avoid harassment or firing or retribution or simply by preference — was key.

“It shows that in Ohio, what you say anonymously online will stay, unless someone has a very good reason to take that anonymity away,” Beck said.

Read more of what Public Citizen attorney Greg Beck has to say on this case in the Consumer Law & Policy Blog (from 2007).