Internet users and providers cannot be held liable for posting defamatory material written by someone else, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.

"The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications," Justice Carol Corrigan wrote for the court. But, she added, immunity "serves to protect online freedom of expression and to encourage self-regulation."

Monday's decision was consistent with holdings by many federal appeals courts and one other state high court. "The courts are now uniform," said Ann Brick, who represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California in the case.

But attorneys on both sides of the case said the California Supreme Court went further than other courts by giving immunity to all Internet users except the original author.

Get the full story at the Los Angeles Times