You're a #%^&*(@

Well, maybe you are and maybe you're not. If I say you are, anonymously or not, I would, and should, expect some backlash. So, myself, I tend not to defame anyone a great deal. I have called some a scum-sucking pencil-necked waste of skin ..., never in print, but occasionally in pixels. I have never got in trouble for it, but the day may come.

It has come for a blogger who defamed Liskula Cohen. Cohen is a model. An anonymous blogger posted a screed about her in a blog hosted by Google. The Supreme Court of the State of New York has ruled ( H/T to Scribd ) that Google has to turn over what it has, that identifies the blogger, to Cohen.

Hows that make you feel ??

Defame

Verb

1. Charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

 

Slander

Noun

1. Words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another.

2. The act of defaming.

Verb

1. Charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

 

 

Libel

Noun

1. A tort consisting of false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person.

Verb

1. Make slanderous statements against

( all definitions are from Webster's Online Dictionary )

So a libel is a printed slander and a slander is the act of defaming and defaming is stating a falsehood. So unless I have pictures of you sucking scum through a pencil neck to support an excess of skin I'd best watch what I say. I have neither the time nor the funds to defend myself from a civil suit.

I don't think this judgment will make any real difference in how the blogosphere operates. 

The unidentified creator of the blog was represented in court by an attorney, Anne Salisbury, who said her client voluntarily took the blog down when Cohen initiated legal action against it.

Salisbury suggested that Cohen is more interested in attracting publicity than restoring her reputation. She contended her client's blog would have languished harmlessly in obscurity had Cohen not filed suit. The site had negligible traffic and only five posts on it, all written on a single day, she said.

That is the meat of the implications. Few are going to see me being an asshole and I'm not going to make much of an impact because rational people dismiss hyperbole and trash talking.

Two questions : 

Will this development change the way you say things online ?

Do you know any weasel-faced, lying sacks of crap that should be sued ... for calling me a weasel-faced, lying sack of crap?

Comments

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I go back and forth, actually. Lord knows I've called some public figures some pretty narsty things. But they all damn well deserved it and it was all true.

My head hurts. ;)

I think

The model will probably lose. LOL.

The blogger def needs a life though. It is a different thing to be critical of political people, blogger was just a catty type.

It's a fact: 100% of all the people who ate carrots in 1850, are dead.

We will never ....

... know. Once the model found out who the anonymous blogger was she decided not to pursue any further legal action ( I read that development just last night and now can't find the article, sorry ).

Google has said that they will not reveal any information without a court order, which means it's going to cost you time and money to find out who is slagging you. Most people will not go to that trouble, so even though the precedent of this case is a big deal, IMO, practically not many anonymous bloggers will be revealed because of it.

I found it kinda interesting though.

The truth ....

... hurts and can also set you free.

I've called some public figures some pretty narsty things....and it was all true.

You're good.  By definition libel is a falsehood.  If what you say ( print / publish ) is the truth  you cannot be held for libel.

There are also different standards for libeling private individuals and public figures. A private individual need only prove that a statement is libel, a politician has to prove that, and also that it was done with malice.  ( The above is relevant to US laws.  Canadian / British / other jurisdictions maybe different. )