Gigaom

Is Twitter a publisher and distributor of information like a newspaper, or is it just a dumb pipe like a telephone network? Lawyers in Australia seem to believe that a case could be made that Twitter is a publisher, like a newspaper, and therefore it can be sued for defamation as a result of a single tweet. That may be a stretch — especially in the United States, which has legislation that protects online commentary from such lawsuits — but it highlights the difficulties that Twitter could have as it tries to expand around the globe and into different legal environments.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, a tweet by writer and TV personality Marieke Hardy — in which she falsely accused a man of setting up a blog to attack her — led to a lawsuit by the aggrieved party for defamation, and Hardy wound up…

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