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Philip Smith shines through, " some bloggers are journalists."
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 10:55
Can bloggers be journalists? Federal court says yes
ARS Technica
By Nate Anderson | Published: October 31, 2007 - 10:32AM CT

When Philip Smith took to his blog to describe his (negative) experience of working with an eBay listing company, he did not expect that he would end up representing himself in a federal defamation and trademark dilution lawsuit or that he would have difficulty selling his condo after a lawyer for the plaintiffs clouded his title to the property. Now, after winning the case in spectacular fashion, Smith has emerged as an unlikely hero for bloggers everywhere who hope to be regarded as journalists. No US court has yet weighed in with authority on the debate about whether bloggers count as journalists, but the recent federal decision from South Carolina does indicate that at least some bloggers are journalists. It's not about the title, it's about the content, said Judge Henry Hurlong, Jr.; a journalist turns out to be anyone who does journalism, and bloggers who do so have the same rights and privileges under federal law as the "real" journalists.

The case began when Smith blogged about his experience working with an eBay listing company called BidZirk. He had a less than satisfactory experience working with the company, and he used his article as a chance to talk about eBay listing services in general, then closed with a checklist that potential users of such services should consider.

In the course of the article, he did three things that galled BidZirk's owner, Daniel Schmidt: he 1) used the BidZirk logo, 2) described Schmidt as a "yes man," and 3) linked to a picture of Schmidt and his wife. Those actions prompted claims for 1) trademark dilution under the Lanham Act, 2) defamation, and 3) invasion of privacy... More   Comment in the Forum

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