A lawsuit filed this last week, points out you need to be careful when you post comments in social networking sites such as Facebook.com, Twitter.com and MySpace.com
Simply put, when you make a post or comment on these sites, they are written words and therefore subject to a claim of libel, and depending on the harshness of the comments, many other claims.
In a case filed last week, Former fashion designer, Dawn Simorangkir, filed a libel suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, against the widow of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, for “carrying out an obsessive and delusional crusade of malicious libel” against her on Twitter, adding insult on MySpace and other websites also seeking damages for including invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotion distress.
The designer, also claims that numerous tweets posted by Love on Twitter accuse her of being a “nasty, lying, hosebag thief”; having “a history of dealing cocaine”; having “lost all custody of her child”; and, being guilty of “assault and burglary”. The singer adds that the designer would be “hunted til your dead”.
Love then allegedly posted on a fashion site where Ms Simorangkir sells her clothes: “The nastiest lying worst person I have ever known … evil incarnate, vile horrible lying bitch.”
Ms Simorangkir is seeking punitive damages, arguing that the comments have destroyed her reputation and her business. Court papers laying out the claim state: “Whether caused by drug-induced psychosis, a warped understanding of reality, or the belief that money and fame allow her to disregard the law, Love has embarked on what is nothing short of an obsessive and delusional crusade to destroy Simorangkir’s reputation and her livelihood.”
A claim for libel can only be based on written words, however such words do not have to be contained in an published article, it can be simply tweeted.
Slander, is a claim for spoken words.
A person who files a lawsuit for defamation Libel or slander), must usually prove that the statement in question were 1) published, meaning heard or seen by others, 2) false (and something more than mere opinion) and 3) injurious to the subject’s reputation. But there are defenses to a defamation lawsuit, including proof that the statement in question is in fact true. Learn more about Defamation, Libel, and Slander.
As you implied, don’t they have to prove “this person” accually made the remarks?
I’m sure I could create a twitter acct and make it look like I am you. And, start saying nasty things about others.
Los Angeles Superior Court
Doesn’t standing and Redressability enter into this?
I speculate one of 2 things will happen depending upon the personalities of the people.
It will be settled out of court.
Or, it will drag on for a couple years.
Or, will the judge want to receive some notoriety (cynical) and make a controversial ruling since it involves Twitter and MySpace. Which, he knows will receive national coverage.
Yea, my attorneys is ready to sue anyone who says my site is full of BS
Man, I love America-the land of opportunity and full of BS.
Jon Schultz says
I was thinking of filing libel claims against several people who said or implied false things about me on the Internet, but the attorney whom I consulted advised me that the claims would likely be dismissed if I could not show economic damage which could clearly be attributed to their statements. He didn’t think the emotional distress of having publicly been mischaracterized was enough to justify a suit.
There is such a thing as defamation per se, where you do not have to show damages as they are presumed due to the statements.
Jon Schultz says
Thank you. Actually my attorney brought up a number of points, including some mentioned under “Why Commencing A Defamation Action Is Not Aways A Good Idea.”
Sometimes it’s better to implement your own justice, with the whips of your fingertips.
This certainly puts a new spin on things. I would say that the old rule of to “think twice before…….”no longer applies to this Twitter, Facebook, mobile culture.
I agree that a suit would bring more hassle and probably pain. I would say either get over it or get even (undocumented).