AOL Absolved in Drudge Case

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AOL is off the hook, and its competitors can breathe easier too. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman yesterday dismissed the service provider as a codefendant in presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal’s $30 million libel suit against Matt Drudge -- on the grounds that the 1996 Communications Decency Act absolves ISPs from responsibility for content supplied by third parties. "Whether wisely or not, [Congress] made the legislative judgment to effectively immunize providers of interactive computer services from civil liability... with respect to material disseminated by them but created by others," wrote Judge Friedman.

The ruling may even be good news for the tiny-pocketed Matt Drudge, whose entire operation is run from his apartment: “With AOL out of the suit, there’s very little for Blumenthal to go after,” says Netly News and TIME Daily editor Josh Quittner. “What’s he going to get -- Drudge’s fedora?”