Georgia Court Muzzles Anti-Troll Message Board
First Amendment, anybody?
Earlier this month, a Georgia Superior Court issued a breathtaking restraining order against Matthew Chan, the operator of a copyright troll criticism message board, holding him responsible for the posts of his users. As part of the Court's reasoning, Judge Frank Jordan wrote:
"As the owner and operator of the site, Respondent has the ability to remove posts in his capacity as the moderator. However, Respondent chose not to remove posts that were personally directed at [Petitioner Linda] Ellis and would cause a reasonable person to fear for her safety."
The Court used this as a basis to order Chan "to remove all posts relating to Ms. Ellis." All posts, not just posts that might threaten Ellis, or even just those written by Chan. This woefully overboard restraint on speech not only threatens freedom of expression, it also ignores Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the legal cornerstone upon which all user-generated content websites are built.