Monday, April 25, 2011

Prosecuted in France for Book Review! What the F!

As an American writer who typically writes about people in the public eye, you feel comfortable doing it freestyle, particularly in light of the Supreme Court's 1964 decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, which requires a public figure suing you for libel to prove actual malice or recklessness to prevail, even if your writing is false. You feel even more safeguarded by the Supreme Court's 1997 decision in Reno v. ACLU, which held that Internet commentary should receive the highest level of First Amendment protection. From your perspective, you're golden. Surely no American court would ever, in a million years, sustain a defamation complaint given your meticulous and objectively unbiased efforts to get the facts right on your website. What is more, you don't really think you could be sued abroad, where this protective First Amendment jurisprudence doesn't hold sway.