Internet Book Self-Publishing Service Not Liable for Defamation in the Books:

So holds Sandler v. Calcagni, a federal district court decision from last week; the court applied Maine law, but in a way that's likely to be echoed in other cases.

Historically, book publishers have been held liable for defamation in the materials they publish, generally on the theory that they know or at least should know of the defamation. But the court in Sandler held that these sorts of Internet self-publishing services are not liable, because they don't review the manuscript but just print it, and they therefore don't know or have reason to know of the possibly defamatory content within the book. The court also applies a similar analysis to the plaintiffs' disclosure of private facts and false light invasion of privacy claims.

Sounds like a sensible and not very surprising application of general negligence principles, but because such decisions about what's "reasonable" are often pretty mushy and hard to predict as a matter of principles, I thought this particular decision -- which I expect will become a fairly influential precedent -- was worth noting.