Court: Anonymous comments protected by 1st Amendment - WNEM TV 5

Court: Anonymous comments protected by 1st Amendment

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The Michigan appeals court says a website doesn't have to reveal the names of people who posted anonymous comments about a university scientist.

The court said Wednesday that the PubPeer Foundation, which operates, is protected by the First Amendment. The case involves Fazlul Sarkar who filed a defamation lawsuit in Wayne County, claiming the anonymous criticism cost him a high-paying job offer at the University of Mississippi in 2014.

Sarkar returned to a job at Wayne State University but without tenure. is a public website that allows people to discuss scientific research. The appeals court says the website statements cited in Sarkar's lawsuit aren't capable of defamatory meaning. The court says the comments simply are discussions that are "critical of Dr. Sarkar's research."

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