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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Federal judge rules statutory one-year libel limit applies online
Jonathan Rhein at 7:11 PM ET

[JURIST] A US district court judge from the Northern District of Texas [official website] has ruled that the one-year statute of limitations for bringing libel suits in Texas applies equally to articles posted on the Internet and articles in print. In dismissing a lawsuit against the Dallas Morning News [media website], columnist Scott Burns, [personal website], and parent company Belo [corporate website], Judge David Godbey [official profile] held Monday that the statute begins to run the moment an article is published on the Internet and ends a year later, even if the article remains available online. In the opinion, Godbey wrote that he "sees no rational reason for distinguishing between the Internet and other forms of traditional mass media."

Ohio-based Nationwide Bi-Weekly Administration [corporate website] had brought suit claiming that a column [text] by Burns was inaccurate, a charge Burns and the newspaper have repeatedly denied. Nationwide filed its suit within the statutory period but did not properly notify the defendants in time, according to the ruling. Nationwide is reportedly considering an appeal. AP has more.

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