Second, even if she were otherwise entitled to those protections, O.R.S. 44.530(3)specifically provides that "[t]he provisions of O.R.S. 44.520(1) do not apply with respect to the content or source of allegedly defamatory information, in [a] civil action for defamation wherein the defendant asserts a defense based on the content or source of such information." Because this case is a civil action for defamation, defendant cannot rely on the media shield law.
This changes things somewhat. The article says "she's entitled to those protections." This says, even if she were, here's why it doesn't apply.
NB: I think the settlement sucks, but that doesn't mean the judge was the complete idiot the article made him out to be.
Private people don't have to prove malice.
If that bar was met in this case, then -- as you say -- regardless of journalistic status you've done something wrong.
If you are right or have good reason to believe that you are right, then it's not defamation to be mad and try to make your thoughts known.
Additionally, the fact that someone has not yet been charged or indicted can never be used as evidence that they are innocent or not guilty.
Judges are supposed to avoid making decisions that are broader than necessary to resolve a case. This judge has unnecessarily set a dangerous precedent.
Coders and bloggers are good at what they do and in those spheres it would generally be a good idea to defer to them for advice, however, in the sphere of law it's generally a good idea to defer to someone with expertise in that field.
Not this one. Read the blog post on which the decision is based (http://www.bankruptcycorruption.com/2010/12/kevin-padrick-of...). She sounds positively unhinged.
That doesn't mean she should owe this company $2.5 million. But this doesn't read like the work of a journalist or someone with a source. It reads like the ravings of a lunatic. I don't have near enough evidence to make a final judgment one way or another but this certainly smells more like defamation than whistle-blowing.
I can only assume the blogger is going for that phrase in Google.
www.obsidianfinancesucks.com/ is #4 for that phrase.
Hopefully the ACLU would take up her cause on appeal.
It's pretty easy to get blinders on if you're representing yourself.
In addition, she replies to the platiniff "So I want to Let you know and Obsidian Finance that I am now offering PR Services and Search Engine Management Services starting at $2500 a month to promote Law Firms... Finance Companies.. and to protect online reputations and promote businesses.." Which the legal firm didn't take kindly to, "It could hardly be clearer that Ms. Cox is attempting to use her outrageous and utterly false payments about plantiffs as leverage to extort a payment from them."
Also, she ignored a deposition in Montana for which the plaintiffs are requesting the court place sanctions on her which if she didn't would also have made it trivial to move the case to another district court where some weird wording in the Oregon shield law wouldn't have mattered.
The Judge probably wanted to hang himself after reading her motions.
I've experienced this myself, so maybe my comments should be thrown out as biased.
In most cases, the only indication the judge has as to who is right or wrong are what is presented to him.
“Medium of communication” has its ordinary meaning and includes, but is not limited to, any newspaper, magazine or other periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system.
Apparently, the judge didn't spot the "but is not limited to" part of that definition.
(The text of the relevant laws: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/044.html)
He could have easily said that she is part of the media, but that the law doesn't protect those in the media from these types of lawsuits. Reading the law, I think blogging does fall into the category that gives it protection, even if those protections wouldn't have made a difference in this case.
There is a reason why Journalism Law is a first-semester course at any respectable j-school.
Does that mean that it's absolutely impossible to commit libel in public writing?
Or does it mean that one "cannot" because there are dire consequences?
A la "you can never put too much water in a nuclear reactor."
The problem is that the risk of litigation is sometimes totally disproportionate. While one side may risk a small budget overrun in their legal department, the other side might find their life in ruins for decades, including things like paying for their children's education.
I think this needs a constitutional amendment urgently.
We need to start a Bloggers Media Network.
What the hell is "official" media establishment? It seems that the judge is saying thet there are separate "official" and "unofficial" establisments but if that is the case, who decides what is official and what is not?