LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appeals court says threatening anti-gay Internet posts sent to a 15-year-old Los Angeles boy's Web site are not protected free speech.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in a 2-1 decision this week that the boy can sue schoolmates for the threats. The court says the violent threats convey harmful intent.

Six students and their parents are being sued for hate crimes, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

It's believed to be the first California case to examine the boundaries between free expression and cyber-bullying.

The plaintiff set up a Web site in 2005 to promote his music and film career, but fellow students believed wrongly that the boy was gay and threatened violence.

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.