Anonymous Web Editor Defeats Unmasking Effort

Jun 03, 14

A Washington attorney suing an anonymous Wikipedia editor for defamation can’t force the editor to reveal his identity, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled late last week.
Susan Burke, a solo practitioner, sued two anonymous Wikipedia editors she accused of posting defamatory information about her on a Wikipedia page. One of the editors, known only as Zujua, fought Burke’s subpoena for his identity; the other did not participate in the case.
A three-judge appeals panel ruled on March 29 that the trial judge was wrong to give Burke the go-ahead to unmask Zujua. The editor fought the subpoena under a District law aimed at shielding protected speech from lawsuits, known as the anti-SLAPP law (strategic lawsuits against public participation.) The law gives defendants in these cases an early route to dismissal.

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