For those that may not know, shield laws aka reporters’ privilege allow reporters to keep confidential the names of sources during the news gathering and dissemination process. In English, you don’t have to reveal your sources.
This morning, the New Jersey Supreme Court shot down Shellee Hale’s request for protection in a defamation suit filed against her by software company Too Much Media. The original lawsuit stems from comments Hale made on an Oprano.com (an adult industry trade site) discussion forum about a TMM security breach – TMM provides services for the adult industry. Hale insisted she was commenting as a blogger and would therefore not be required to disclose her source’s information and petitioned protection under New Jersey’s shield law.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that persons posting comments on online message boards are not the same as traditional journalists and ineligible for protection under New Jersey’s shield law. Though it’s not clear just how deep this ruling will impact all bloggers if at all, it’s clear that posting comments in a message board do not offer you the same protections as a journalist.
Hat tip to @KillahKazx