The New York Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling Tuesday in a defamation suit brought by Christakis Shiamili, the owner of New York City apartment rental and sales company Ardor Realty, against competitor, MNS (formerly the Real Estate Group of New York), which operates an industry blog.
According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Christakis Shiamili filed the suit after an employee from MNS, one of the blog’s administrators, took an anonymous negative comment about Shamili, including allegations that Shiamili was racist and anti-Semitic, and turned it into a stand-alone post for the website.
The blogger then allegedly added an image of Shiamili’s face superimposed on the an image of Jesus, with a caption that read “Chris Shiamili: King of the Token Jews.”
In affirming the dismissal of the case, the majority opinion ruled that the federal Communications Decency Act prevented Shiamili from taking legal action against the blog because their site merely hosted the defamatory material.
Section 230 of the CDA was passed to prevent website operators from being liable for comments posted to their sites by others. Three of the seven judges disagreed, arguing that the website did more than merely publish the defamatory posting. [RCFP]