Defamation on Twitter a.k.a. Tweet Defamation: NBA Referee Files Lawsuit.

March 15th, 2011

Internet defamation is as easy to inflict as hitting the ‘submit’ key.  I am an internet law attorney who sees on-line defamation of character every day. The consequences to the person defamed can be devastating on the one end or a nuisance on the other.  There is no -on-line media as easy, fast and thoughtless to post to as Twitter.com, making defamation on Twitter a big problem for lawyers and clients alike. Recall Courtney Love recently had to pay $430,000 in libel damages for  Twitter defamation settlement with a fashion designer who claimed Courtney defamed her on twitter.com for the tweets “asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief” and a “coke whore.”

No comes the latest claim of defamation on twitter. NBA referee Bill Spooner just filed a federal defamation and libel lawsuit (click link to see the Federal Court Complaint) against Minneapolis-based sportswriter Jon Krawczynski and the Associated Press alleging he was defamed on Twitter during a a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets.  The alleged defamatory tweet by Krawczynski states: “Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he’d “get it back” after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That’s NBA officiating folks.” Spooner says that the statement quoted in the tweet was a request made by the coach to ‘get it [the foul call] back,’ not promise by Spooner to do so.

See more below. Read More »

Defamation is Defined as a False Statement of Fact.

March 6th, 2011

Internet Defamation of Character Primer: What is a defamatory statement?

An anonymous comment was posted about your company on a review web site stating that your company  cheated them out of money, that the people at your company are crooks and that customers should avoid doing business with your company at all cost.  The web site where the statement was posted is coming back as the third Google search result just below your web site and domain name. Your first impulse is that the statement is defamation. Your second is to contact an attorney to send a threat letter to the web site owner demanding that comment removed.

The First Question: In order for a statement to be defamatory under law, the statement posted on the internet must be a false statement of fact, rather than a statement of opinion. Clients are often confused about what is a fact versus an opinion.  Surprisingly, so are courts, judges and many lawyers who do not practice defamation law. The reality is that defamation can law can be hard to decipher on this critical issue of “what is a false statement of fact” as the first element of proving defamation on the internet. Read More »

What is Internet Defamation? And How Do I Stop It?

March 5th, 2011

Internet Defamation is a blog post, comment, web site, Facebook post or comment, Twitter tweet or other on-line false statement of fact  and that reflects negatively on your reputation.  Because internet defamation is by definition written rather than oral, it is technically internet  libel. Slander involves oral false statements of fact.

Defamation per se involves false statements of fact which presumes damages.  That is, no damages must be proven as an element of the defamation, libel or slander claim.  Defamation per se  occurs in most states when the false internet post, tweet, review or comment  (i) accuses someone of a crime; (ii) alleges that someone has a disease; (iii) suggests that a person or business is unfit to conduct their business or trade; or (iv) imputes sexual misconduct.

Internet law involves the attempt to apply traditional legal principles – such as the law of defamation – when the conduct complained of occurs on the internet. Courts have struggled to apply defamation law in the context of the internet for obvious reasons.  Before the world wide web, few people wielded the power of the pen.  Now, everyone has a global audience and can express themselves as easily is key-stroking a blog post, blog comment, bulletin board post, Facebook post or comment, Twitter tweet, web site comment or customer review.

An attorney handling an internet defamation case has much bigger challenges than when defamation occurs off-line. Sometimes identifying a web site owner or other anonymous author of defamatory content can be difficult. There are dozens of different and specific strategies for dealing with defamatory statements on the internet.  Many strategies require expertise in back-end DNS, domain registrars, domain registrant search, proxy services, Section 230 Immunity under the Communications Decency Act, User Generated Content, IP tracking, ISP subpoenas and related issues.  Sometimes, defamation occurs on familiar sites such as www.ComplaintsBoard.com or www.RipOffReport.com which were designed to promote and drive advertising revenue from online libel.  Sometimes, it is an competitor disguised as one of your customers who is posting false information.  Understanding how to deal with these types of web sites is critical.

You should speak with an attorney who specializes in internet defamation to learn more about your options, the cost of each option and potential return on investment if you should be able to remove the libelous statements.  Every situation is different. Not every fight is worth it.  If you are losing business or your reputation has been attacked, sometimes you have no choice but to fight.  Chances are, we can help.

Internet Attorney Alert: Lawsuit Reinstated Over Comments on Craigslist About a California Lawyer

June 11th, 2010

After originally being dismissed by the lower court, a state Court of Appeal has recently reinstated a California Attorney’s suit against screenwriter Justin Swingle.

Attorney Richard Gibson’s suit alleges that Swingle’s comments accused the attorney of breaking the law, violating attorney ethics rules, being mentally ill, and bigotry.

Originally Swingle’s comments on the attorney’s Craigslist add were posted anonymously. However, Gibson was granted a subpoena which required Craigslist to identify the author of the posts and from there was able to name Swingle as defendant in his complaint.

The Los Angeles Daily Times reports that the Court of Appeals held that Swingle’s posts on Gibson’s Craigslist add “were not part of political speech nor speech on a matter of public interest.”

If you are faced with a potential defamation suit or if you are trying to get content that may classify as defamation removed from an online source, you should contact an internet attorney today.
For related information on internet defamation in the media;

False Facebook Profile Spawns Defamation Lawsuit,

Lawyer Can Sue Critic Over Craigslist War of Words, Says Appeal Court,

ABAJournal.com: “More and More Lawsuits Over Rants on the Web that Blast Businesses”

Judge Orders That ID of Anonymous Poster Must Be Revealed In Internet Defamation Case

November 13th, 2009

When it comes to Internet defamation, anonymous bloggers cannot hide their identities from courts forever.  A Cook County, Illinois judge has ordered that the identity of an anonymous blogger must be revealed.  The anonymous poster allegedly defamed the 15-year old son of the Buffalo Grove Village Trustee on the message board of a local newspaper.  The Circuit Court judge entered a protective order that bars the disclosure of the anonymous blogger’s identity to anyone outside of the Sheriff, the plaintiff, and the plaintiff’s attorneys.

Internet defamation can be a serious problem.  Libelous, slanderous, or defamatory statements that are posted on the Internet can last forever.  That is why it is important to work with an Internet defamation attorney to protect your rights.  If have been the victim of defamation, contact one of our expert Internet defamation attorneys today toll free at 866.936.7447.

An Internet Defamation Attorney Can Help Remove False Statements from the Web.

November 10th, 2009

 

I’m a victim of Internet Defamation

I’m being falsely accused of Internet Defamation

Our Internet defamation attorneys can help you pursue libel or slander on the internet which attacks your name, your business name or your brands. Defamation is the publication of a statement of fact that is false or that tends to damage your reputation .  If someone makes a defamatory statement about you on the Internet, you may be able to recover monetary damages. If the defamatory statement is posted on a web site, you need to have it removed. A qualified internet law attorney can help. Defamation on the internet can not only affect your reputation and good name when others come in contact with the defamatory statements, but defamatory Internet postings can follow you for a long time when they are indexed by search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, or Bing.  That is why it is important to work with an internet law attorney to have the defamatory statements removed immediately from the website and from the search engine cache. An internet attorney will know what proven strategies work, depending on what web site the defamatory statement is posted. If you have been the victim of a defamatory statement that has hurt your good name or business, contact one of our expert Internet defamation attorneys today. Your reputation is important.  We’ll help you protect it from the internet.

False Facebook Profile Spawns Defamation Lawsuit

September 28th, 2009

A Chicago Illinois mother has sued four minor teenagers on behalf of her son in a defamation lawsuit for allegedly creating a false Facebook profile of her son and portraying her son as a racist, and falsely commenting on his sexual orientation and sexual proclivities.  The defamation lawsuit claims damages and injunctive relief based on the defamatory information in the false Facebook profile, portraying the minor in a false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  If true, the allegations form the basis for a legitimate claim of defamation.

It is not surprising that defamation claims are arising from the portrayal of false and defamatory information about people on social networking sites such as Facebook.   The complaint alleges that the Facebook account was created using the plaintiff’s name, his real cell phone number, and photograph.  Once the profile is created, the creators of the account invited classmates and other associates of the plaintiff to become friends and exposed the false and defamatory information to some 580 Facebook friends eventually causing the plaintiff to change athletic coaches and athletic teams in addition to causing other stated humiliation and embarrassment.

If you have been the victim of false and defamatory posting of information online, contact one of our attorneys to discuss your legal rights.