JUDGE ORDERS BLOGGER TO PAY $2.5 MILLION TO COMPANY SHE WROTE ABOUT

Remember the name Crystal L. Cox because she just might be the new pioneer for bloggers' rights. This woman from Montana runs many whistleblower sites including bankruptcycorruption.com, obsidianfinancesucks.com and crystalcox.com.

In January, investment firm Obsidian Finance Group filed a $10 million lawsuit against Crystal for critical blog posts about their company - citing the blog posts were defamatory.

She represented herself during her day in court last week, with U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez throwing out all but one of the blog posts in question. That one however, was the dagger in the back - or face, depending on how you want to look at it. He told her that the singled out blog post seemed more from the heart than the other ones.

She told the judge that it appeared that way because an inside source to the finance company provided information for the other ones. Because she wouldn't name her source, none of what she wrote could be proven, and therefore taken as slander.

He then told her that bloggers aren't entitled to the various protections given to journalists - whatever that means - because she has no affiliation with any newspaper, magazine, book, news service, wire service, feature syndicate, broadcast station/network or cable TV system.

That's when he hit her with the $2.5 million judgement.

Now, if it's like that, then what the hell is the first amendment about? When I say things like, "the Governor of Alabama sucks" or "President Obama sucks" - because they do - I say that with an air of confidence. I say those things knowing that as a citizen of this country, I have the right to say whatever I want (of course within taste). Especially since I'm saying these things as a journalist. Or social observer  - whatever.

From what I understand from the judge is that if we're not affiliated, we're just a bunch of people with too much time on our hands.

What do you think? Are freelance bloggers different from people affiliated with a company or network of companies? What's the difference between the two? Shouldn't bloggers be protected by the First Amendment? Do you think there will be a crackdown on bloggers like in other countries?

(bonus)What if you were sued for $10 million by Pepsi or any other company because of a comment you made on Facebook or Twitter?


About the Writer

Ed "Mr. Chap" Chapman is the warden of the Insane Asylum Blog and contributor to www.dangerouslee.biz.