Giving users a plain deal: Contract-related media liability for unmasking anonymous commenters

Amy Kristin Sanders, Patrick C. File

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Could news organizations face civil liability for voluntarily unmasking their anonymous online commenters? This article examines that nascent legal question through a discussion of contract law applied to a study of seven news Web sites' policies and practices. The study finds that although the news organizations claim that they zealously guard user privacy and will resist unmasking commenters under almost any circumstances, most of them have user agreements that would likely immunize them from civil liability for almost any reason. Are users getting a plain deal?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-226
Number of pages30
JournalCommunication Law and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Law

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