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Court Antigay Cyberbullying Not Protected Speech

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In one of the first cases in California to examine the issues surrounding free expression and online bullying, a state appeals court said Monday that antigay threats posted on the Web are not protected speech.

The case involves a 15-year-old boy, a former Los Angeles high school student who sued classmates for posting antigay messages on his website in 2005. The suit contended that the messages constituted hate crimes and defamation, but one classmate said the messages were protected by his right to free expression.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "In a 2-1 ruling Monday, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said the violent language of the message -- threatening to 'rip out your ... heart and feed it to you' and to 'pound your head in with an ice pick' -- conveyed a harmful intent that is not protected by the right of free speech."

The boy, identified only as D.C., moved with his family to an undisclosed location in Northern California.

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