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Hearings Tomorrow in Wiki Linking Case

January 15, 2007

Is it permissible for a website owner to link to controversial material subject to possible litigation?

Hearings tomorrow in U.S. District Court in San Francisco will explore this issue.

The controversy involves an anonymous citizen-journalist, who posted links from a public "wiki" he was contributing to, to potentially damaging internal documents from Ely Lilly related to the prescription drug Zyprexa. The drug is normally used to combat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The hearings are a continuation of Judge Jack B. Weinstein's refusal back on January 4 to change his order blocking publication of material that would "facilitate dissemination" of the Lilly documents

The links, which were posted at, lead to documents posted as part of an ongoing Zyprexa products liability lawsuit. According to reports in The New York Times, complaintants have alleged that Zyprexa downplayed side effects that could include weight gain, high blood sugar and diabetes.

"Preventing a citizen-journalist from posting links to important health information on a public wiki violates the First Amendment," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Eli Lilly's efforts to censor these documents off the Internet are particularly outrageous in light of the information reported by The New York Times, which suggests that doctors and patients who use Zyprexa need to know the information contained in those documents."

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