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A Textual Analysis of the Influence of McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission in Cases Involving Anonymous Online Commenters


Jasmine E. McNealy


University of Kentucky - School of Library and Information Science

January 4, 2013

First Amendment Law Review, Vol. 11, pp. 149-171, 2012

Abstract:     
Internet anonymity and the boundaries of the rights of anonymous Internet speakers is a growing issue. The First Amendment also protects anonymous speech. In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Ohio law that prohibited the distribution of anonymous campaign material. But the McIntyre decision concerned offline communications — fliers. A question remains as to whether the courts have or are willing to apply the McIntyre to anonymous Internet communications, and if so, is that application limited only to political speech. This study examines these questions in an attempt understand what impact McIntyre has had on the protection of online anonymity by presenting an textual analysis of cases in which subpoenas have been issued to identify anonymous online commenters.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: anonymity, Supreme Court, free speech, internet, social media

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Date posted: July 11, 2012 ; Last revised: March 13, 2014

Suggested Citation

McNealy, Jasmine E., A Textual Analysis of the Influence of McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission in Cases Involving Anonymous Online Commenters (January 4, 2013). First Amendment Law Review, Vol. 11, pp. 149-171, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2102786

Contact Information

Jasmine E. McNealy (Contact Author)
University of Kentucky - School of Library and Information Science ( email )
320 Little Library Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0224
United States
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