Portland's Rival Alt-Weeklies Team Up in Court and Win Shield Case

october 2, 2008  09:17 am
On Feb. 1, someone named "Ronald" posted a comment about a local businessman named Terry Beard on both the Portland Mercury and Willamette Week websites. Ronald's message "was Greek to me," the Mercury's Amy Ruiz writes, "but Terry Beard sure didn't appreciate it." He took both papers to court to get them to reveal the anonymous commenter's IP address. The papers' attorneys fought the motion, arguing that Oregon's Media Shield Law protects the information. The plaintiff's lawyer countered by contending that the shield law only applies to news gathering, not the passive reception of information. On Monday, Judge James E. Redman sided with the papers, and agreed that the IP address was protected under the state shield law. However, he noted that "if the comment had been totally unrelated to the blog post," then the shield law might not have applied.

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