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Court Rules on Cyber-Bullying for First Time

March 17, 2010

Following up on my post last week on cyber-bullying, the Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles ruled that anti-gay cyber-bullying is not protected as free speech.  From the San Francisco Chronicle:

A state appeals court says a 15-year-old boy whose Web site was flooded with anti-gay slurs and threats can sue a schoolmate who admitted posting a menacing message but described it as a joke.

In a 2-1 ruling Monday, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said the violent language of the message – threatening to “rip out your … heart and feed it to you” and to “pound your head in with an ice pick” – conveyed a harmful intent that is not protected by the right of free speech.

The case is one of the first in California to examine the boundaries between free expression and so-called cyber-bullying. The court majority said a message that threatens physical harm, even if it wasn’t meant to be serious, loses its First Amendment protection and can be grounds for a lawsuit.

Seems like a no-brainer to me, but I’m not a Constitutional Scholar.

via the Advocate


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