ALBANY – New York’s highest court attempted for the first time yesterday to draw a line between when website operators can claim the protection of federal law for objectionable material provided by third parties and when they can be sued for libelous content.

Adopting a broad reading of the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA), a 4-3 majority of the Court of Appeals ruled that New York City apartment rental agent and seller Christakis Shiamili is blocked from suing a rival company for anonymous comments in a February 2008 blog post about the New York real estate industry that accused Mr. Shiamili of being a racist, an anti-Semite, a wife-beater, an adulterer and a bad boss.