The Right to Speak Anonymous Online ... and its Limits

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Using one of the most notorious of the mass bit-torrent lawsuits, West Coast Productions v. Does, this article first explores the policy considerations behind the right to speak anonymous online and the right to expose the identity of an anonymous defendant, then it explains the legal procedure used to discovery anonymous defendants' identities. It concludes with the judge's decision in the West Coast case and suggests a better way to protect the rights of anonymous defendants. In a post-script, the article suggests that the trend of exposing the identities of anonymous defendants may be reversing itself in mass lawsuits.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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