Free Advice Q&A: How do I stop someone from spreading lies online?Wed Jul 21, 2010 @ 02:45AM PST
We asked web defamation specialist Bryan Freedman to suggest who to target when false information is bouncing around the Internet....
THR, Esq.: I've been defamed by an anonymous posting online. Who can I sue?
Freedman: "If you are the target of an online attack, one practical solution is to simply request that the website remove the libelous statements. Although sites and ISPs have broad immunity for content published by third parties, they often have little tolerance for online abuse. If you really want to go after your online secret admirer, file a lawsuit against a 'Doe' defendant. You can often expose 'Deep Throat' through some simple discovery. Remember, websites routinely require visitors and bloggers to register before posting content. Moreover, sites usually can pinpoint the IP address where the defamatory posting originated. Later, amend your pleadings to name the 'Doe' defendant, and litigate the merits of the case. I have consistently found that anonymous defamers feel intense pain from an embarrassing and expensive lawsuit."
Freedman, partner at LA's Freedman & Taitelman, filed the first defamation case (against Courtney Love) arising from Twitter comments and he owns protectyourrep.com, which removes unwanted content on the Web.