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Online comments company expected to name users

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  1. Libel and Privacy
The York Daily Record/Sunday News reports that the company that owns its online readers' comment section is expected to turn…

The York Daily Record/Sunday News reports that the company that owns its online readers’ comment section is expected to turn over the personal information of anonymous individuals who commented on a Daily Record/Sunday News story about a Dec. 28 murder.

Prosecutor Timothy Barker told a judge at a hearing Friday that his office believes at least some of the authors of the 26 story comments might have been witnesses to the stabbing death of Andrew Wright, according to the York Daily Record/Sunday News.  Barker said an attorney for Topix LLC — a self-described online "news community" that hosts the comments section for the newspaper — has agreed to hand over the commentors’ Internet Protocol addresses and personal data in response to a subpoena.

No representatives for Topix, the newspaper or the defendants appeared in court, according to the newspaper. Daily Record/Sunday News managing editor Randy Parker said the newspaper did not know the hearing would deal with Topix and the commentors’ identifies.

Parker said in the newspaper that "Topix is ultimately responsible for the comments on their site." 

Topix’s Terms of Service policy reportedly says the company "will release specific personal information about you if required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute, or court order."