Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Anonymous Online Defamers Revealed

As an Internet Lawyer, one of the most common type of cases I handle is anonymous, online defamation. The Internet and its wealth of message boards and social networks has led to a boom in defamatory statements. The reason is simple. Most anonymous posters fear no repercussion because websites don't require any personally identifiable information. Posters are not even required to register a valid email address. A screen name can be made up instantly and the defamatory post is there for all to see. If posted on a message board or website with a high Google page rank, defamatory statements will rise to the top of Google searches for you or your business.

Now, one very easy solution to the epidemic of Internet defamation would be to require personally identifiable and verifiable information from posters. This could be done very easily by requiring credit card information. Hell, this is how they verify your identity at the airport when checking in. And some websites such as Avvo.com are already employing this strategy.

Recently, I was encouraged to see that the Plaintiffs in the AutoAdmit case - a case charging defamation against anonymous posters - were seemingly able to come up with the identity of some of the John Doe defendants. Take note that if you are the victim of Internet defamation, finding the identity of your poster may be an expensive proposition and frequently can only be found pursuant to subpoena power obtained only after filing a lawsuit.

If you are the victim of Internet defamation, you should contact an Internet defamation attorney for more information about your rights.

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