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Blumenthal v. Drudge

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
992 F.Supp. 44 (1998)


Matt Drudge (defendant), creator of the Drudge Report, an Internet gossip column with subscribers nationwide, entered into an agreement with America Online (AOL) (defendant), an Internet service provider, to make the Report available to AOL members for one year. The agreement provided that Drudge would create, edit, update, and “otherwise manage” the content of the Report provided to AOL members and AOL retained the right to “remove content” that it reasonably felt violated AOL’s standard terms of service. Thereafter, the Drudge Report posted a story that Sidney Blumenthal (plaintiff), soon to be assistant to President Clinton, had physically abused his wife. Drudge later retracted the story and publicly apologized. The Blumenthals sued Drudge and AOL for defamation. AOL filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from suit under § 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996. The district court held a hearing on AOL’s motion.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Friedman, J.)

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