An Outlier In Online Speech Decisions

Law360, New York (February 5, 2014, 11:05 AM EST) -- ‚ÄčA recent decision of Virginia’s intermediate appellate court cuts against a prevailing trend in the protection of anonymous free speech. In Yelp Inc. v. Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Inc., No. 0116-13-4 (Va. Ct. App. Jan. 7, 2014), the Virginia Court of Appeals held that Yelp was required to identify seven users who criticized a carpet-cleaning service in online reviews.

User-driven websites such as Yelp typically are not required to divulge user information in response to discovery requests in litigation. Courts have outlined strict standards for unmasking users’...
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