Judge protects IDs of online commenters

Our sister paper in Memphis, The Commercial Appeal, won a court fight on behalf of the folks who comment anonymously on newspaper websites.
Shelby County commissioners had tried to force the paper to disclose the names and email addresses of commenters critical of the merger of the Shelby County and Memphis school districts. The commissioners argued that the comments were being manipulated to undermine legislation that would allow suburbs to form their own school districts, thus escaping the merger.
The newspaper resisted, and U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays put the kibbosh on the fishing expedition. The information, he ruled, was unlikely to reveal such a plot and “not an appropriate subject of discovery.”