Reddit doesn’t have to identify eight anonymous users who wrote comments in piracy-related threads, a judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Friday. From a report: US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler quashed a subpoena issued by film studios in an order that agrees with Reddit that the First Amendment protects the users’ right to speak anonymously online. The First Amendment right to anonymous speech is not absolute, but the precedent followed by US district courts only forces disclosure of anonymous users’ identities “in the exceptional case where the compelling need for the discovery sought outweighs the First Amendment rights of the anonymous speaker,” Beeler noted. After reviewing the facts and arguments, she found that the Reddit users’ comments were irrelevant to the film studios’ underlying case and that the studios could obtain relevant information from other sources.

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