Two council members in Emerson, N.J., are suing a Web site owner for hosting anonymous forum postings they say are defamatory--in yet another case attempting to unmask online critics. In their suit, Gina Calogero and Vincent S. Donato also have named dozens of anonymous posters, who allegedly accused some council members of infidelity and other indiscretions.
As anonymous postings have become more popular, their targets have increasingly turned to the courts. Until now, most of those bringing suits against anonymous posters have been companies, not public officials. Courts so far have issued mixed rulings on whether people have a right to post anonymous criticism. Last month, a state appeals court in New Jersey ruled that Yahoo didn?t have to reveal the names of critics of Dendrite International who posted to its board, citing free speech protections.