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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

As more people turn to blogs as a source of news and information, the distinction between blogs and traditional media sources has become more complex for courts dealing with First Amendment issues. In the recent case, Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon held that the defendant, a blogger, was not a member of the media for the purposes of a defamation claim. The court held that media defendants must be at least negligent to be liable for defamatory publications, but because the blogger was a non-media defendant, she was strictly liable for her defamatory comments. This controversial opinion highlights the importance of the lines courts have created around the definition of “the media.” This Article will examine how courts treat bloggers in the context of special media protections. It will consider how the definition of media is being expanded to include some forms of blogging and how this affects defamation law.

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