Fuller v. Doe

EFF and the California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) asked a California appeals court to scrutinize a chemical company's attempt to strip the anonymity from a participant in an online message board.

The participant posted information that H.B. Fuller Co. claims could only have been obtained through a company "town hall meeting " in violation of an employee confidentiality agreement. However the poster has submitted a declaration to the court swearing that he or she is not an employee and that the information posted on the message board could have been gleaned from any follower of Fuller's business practices.

A lower court ruled the message board poster should be identified to Fuller. In an amicus brief however EFF and CFAC argue that the lower court undervalued the right to anonymity and set a dangerously low threshold for stripping Internet users of its protection.

EFF and CFAC urged the appeals court to adopt a test for this case and others that would protect the rights of Internet critics. That test should include notice to the anonymous speaker an assessment of the merits of the legal claims and other alternatives for finding the source of harm and careful consideration of the balance of harms.

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