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Judge Rules To Reveal Anonymous Blogger's Identity Over Insults 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the truth-no-longer-the-best-defense-to-libel dept.
Several readers have written to tell us of a ruling in the New York Supreme Court which will allow model Liskula Cohen to find out the identity of an anonymous blogger who posted some of her photos with captions including the words "psychotic," "skank," and "ho." The site was part of Blogger.com, and Google has already complied with a request for the author's IP address and email. "[Cohen's attorney] said that once his legal team tracks the e-mail address to a name, the next step will be to sue Cohen's detractor for defamation. He said he suspected the creator of the blog is an acquaintance of Cohen. The blog has not been operational for months. 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. ... the judge quoted a Virginia court that ruled in a similar case that nameless online taunters should be held accountable when their derision crosses a line. 'The protection of the right to communicate anonymously must be balanced against the need to assure that those persons who choose to abuse the opportunities presented by this medium can be made to answer for such transgressions.'"
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Judge Rules To Reveal Anonymous Blogger's Identity Over Insults

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @10:59AM (#29118919) Homepage

    For once, it's worth reading TFA until the end, when you find out: that the blog had "minuscule" traffic, it was taken down as soon as the lawsuit was filed, and it only had 5 posts all written in one day. Basically the blog was dead.

    Sure, as a public figure, it's never fun to be insulted on the Internet (ask Mike Arrington if you don't believe me). But this didn't seem to warrant a full-fledged lawsuit.

    --
    Calling all indie iPhone developers: fair and open [fairsoftware.net] app crowdsourcing

    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:02AM (#29118973)

      Maybe this anonymous poster isn't so anonymous. Maybe she suspects that it's someone she knows (ex boyfriend, ex friend, stalker, etc). If said person was harassing her in other ways as well, perhaps this could be the straw that broke the camel's back and can allow something to be done about it (such as a TRO).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)

      I understand the desire to protect individuals from slander and libel on the net. It's unfortunate that a potential audience of six billion people can see some horrendous things asserted about you no matter who you are, by anybody with a grudge or any nutjob who just doesn't like you because you turned them down or... any other reason imaginable.

      In this instance, not only is calling someone a "skank" an opinion, but the person - as a model - is essentially a public figure. There is a big difference if I cal

      • by El Jynx (548908) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:25AM (#29119261)

        I wonder if this is indeed the right way to go about it. I figure that if you're famous enough, there's going to be loads of fora - public and semi-private, mind you - stuffed with defamatory comments. I figure you should just ignore it, set up your own blog, and only react if people really seem to be getting wrong ideas - but then, do so with honesty and integrity on your own blog. Insert a good troll filter so people can comment and avoid the trolls. There's always gonna be shortsighted individuals who'll gripe anything or anyone, whether that person / thing is known to them personally or not. Let 'em rot in their own juices - they'll either shower eventually or rot away, and in the latter case they're hardly worth anyone's time. Also, this avoids Streisand effects and means that anyone seriously interested in what you have to say about something will refer to your blog and not some random forum; the news sites already do so. Just keep on truckin', apologise if you're wrong, react calmly and clearly when you're right, and let the lawyers stay at home.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Public figures do have a higher burden, but that doesn't mean that they cannot sue for defamation, its just harder to win. If it was an anonymous site with pictures of dozens of models, celebrities and the like similarly labeled, then she she would have a much more difficult time since the site could call itself satirical. Since the blog only seemed to exist to insult her, then I think it is more reasonable for the court to allow finding out who the anonymous author was.

        The two ideals really are opposi
      • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:32AM (#29119359)

        In this instance, not only is calling someone a "skank" an opinion, but the person - as a model - is essentially a public figure.

        Is she a celebrity? I've never heard of her. My wife does voice-over work and is a news anchor on a bunch of local radio stations. You've never heard of her, but is she "essentially a public figure" and fair game? I know dozens of people who act in and produce independent films, they're all over IMDB, you've never heard of these performers, but they're professional actors and movie producers. Are they "fair game?"

        How many people have to recognize your name before you are a "public figure" and thereby forfeit your right to know the identify of your accusers?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Seumas (6865)

          Yes, news anchor is a public figure. A CEO of a large company is a public figure. A journalist is a public figure. A radio DJ or talk show host is a public figure. A model is a public figure pretty much by definition. Of... you know.. modeling stuff... to the public... to get attention... for a company or product.

          She may not be Elle McPhereson, but she's still a model. The same way a radio host is a public figure, even if they're not Howard Stern.

          • by bhsx (458600) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @12:14PM (#29120065)
            The problem is that you are saying there is a line that gets crossed by the "public figure" making them fair game. Where is the lane? It's a fair question. Who isn't a public figure? If you smiled for a picture you're "modeling" and if that picture ends-up on Facebook are you fair game?
            EVERYONE is a public figure.
            Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago, is a public figure.
            Late retired Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Rober J. Quinn was a public figure.
            My father was Quinn's right hand man... Is HE a public figure?
            My father also helped organize the Chicago Firefighter strike of '78 ... we had hundreds of firemen in our house on any given night; does THAT make him a public figure?
            What about the other firemen that were at my house? They're public servents, doesn't that make them public figures?
            I was in a few plays and musicals in college, does that make ME a public figure? (or gay? no, definitely not gay!)
            What about anyone who posts in a public forum? Are THEY public figures?
            Are you catching my drift?
          • She may not be Elle McPhereson, but she's still a model. The same way a radio host is a public figure, even if they're not Howard Stern.

            Great! Because I think RobotRunAmok's wife's voiceovers on the news make her sound like *such* a slutty skank! Now I can say so with impunity!

        • by pilgrim23 (716938)
          Yes, you had never heard of her. But now you and everyone else HAS. This may be what it claims to be, or it may be a Streisand Effect orchestrated by the model's own manager. - This just in "Irving Forbush the well known public figure(?) is suing (enter media outlet du jours) for what they SAID!"... Irving who?
        • by jhol13 (1087781)

          Hmm ... maybe we should disallow people from saying "actor/actress in someobscurefilm sucks bad"!?
          Gimme a break!
          Saying only "skank" over anybody is so lame that the judge should have thrown the case out immediately.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          That depends entirely on context. The local town newspaper could probably get away with calling many more a "public figure" in the community than the New York Times. People that have put themselves in the spotlight rather than being dragged into a public role have a weaker case. Pretty much anyone in the entertainment industry trying to catch exposure end up a public figure pretty quick, which probably applies for a model. Probably not by just walking down a catwalk or appearing in an ad, but once you start

      • by pbhj (607776)

        I'm with you that her being a skank or otherwise is simply opinion and obviously so. If something is defamatory and portrayed as objective fact then you may have something to cry about. Eg "she's a skank, she was outside in the trash giving a blowjob to a tramp" - if she wasn't then their is something to complain about.

      • by jim_v2000 (818799)
        "I understand the desire to protect individuals from slander and libel on the net."

        But anonymous slander and libel were what the internets were invented for!
      • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:56AM (#29119771) Journal
        In this instance, not only is calling someone a "skank" an opinion, but the person - as a model - is essentially a public figure. There is a big difference if I call your sister a slutty skank (by name, no less) on the internet versus calling Kate Moss a slutty skank.

        What possible difference does it make whether the subject is a public figure or not? All are supposed to be equal under the law. Heaven help us if we actually start having separate laws for celebrities.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by crankyspice (63953)

          What possible difference does it make whether the subject is a public figure or not? All are supposed to be equal under the law. Heaven help us if we actually start having separate laws for celebrities.

          Too late, we've had a separate legal standard for "celebrities" (public figures) for over forty years, starting with Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967): http://supreme.justia.com/us/388/130/case.html [justia.com]

        • by jcnnghm (538570) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @01:00PM (#29120729)
          There is a good reason that celebrities are treated differently under defamation law, and that is to protect the public's freedom of speech and right to know. The public figure stuff was the Supreme Court's way of balancing the constitution and defamation. The biggest difference between how a public figure and a regular individual are handled with regard to defamation is in the necessary burden of proof. For a public figure, you must prove actual malice, which is basically that the person said something untrue about you, that they knew it was untrue, and purposely said it to harm you. It is similar to the difference between proving negligence,and proving recklessness. Kind of funny seeing people getting worked up over the law upholding freedom of speech.
      • Now, every man now can easily be his own television station. A guy with a wireless internet connection in New Zealand can broadcast to Uzbekistan, Iceland, and Santa Barbara.

        The quality of that man's Internet TV station, right now, is better than very much TV reception was from the 50s through the 70s. The potential audience is vastly greater than it was then.

        The ability of people to hurt other people through defamatory statements hasn't changed over the years. People certainly haven't become less vulner

    • Internet anonymity exists only until people in authority decide to unmask it. While slash dot has hosted many a discussion about forwarding and posting services, none appear in the long run to be absolutely immune to eventual revelation.

      The lesson here is simple: Whether you are a "whistle blower" of government or business abuse, a "wannabe" revealer of crime sources, or (apparently in this case) someone who desires to slander, libel, or otherwise defame someone without justification, you will remain a
    • by b4upoo (166390)

      Perhaps a defense of truth will be attempted to determine if in fact she is a skanky ho.
                So after the dust settles are the supposed damages more than a penny? Then again maybe skanky hos suffer extreme emotional stress easily or something like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mike449 (238450)

      Maybe the Streisand effect was the desired outcome in this case. For many celebs, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Any publicity is good.

    • Sure, as a public figure, it's never fun to be insulted on the Internet (ask Mike Arrington if you don't believe me). But this didn't seem to warrant a full-fledged lawsuit.

      She's got more money than she knows what to do with. It's a harassment lawsuit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @10:59AM (#29118925)
    This humble Anonymous Coward who has invested thousands of hours into the defamation [slashdot.org] and character assassination of a one Robert Malda of Slashdot would like to beg forgiveness from the very respectable Mr. Malda before he forces a judge to make himself turn over my IP address in order to sue me for slander and libel.
  • Slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sohmc (595388) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:07AM (#29119001) Journal
    I agree that there needs to be a balance against the anoymous people who fear reprisal to people who just want to cause damage.

    But in this case, I don't think it is the case. Putting "SKANK" on a picture of a model is no different than putting "SOCIALIST" on Obama's picture. I believe both should be covered by the 1st amendment. Google should have gone to bat for the blogger.

    I didn't see the guys blog so I can't say, but unless the blog contained more than just pictures with editorial descriptions, this ruling should be reversed.
    • I believe both should be covered by the 1st amendment. Google should have gone to bat for the blogger.

      The body of law that has evolved around the 1st amendment clearly provides different laws to different people depending on their role in society. The most commonly referred to categories are politicians, public figures, and private citizens.

      The courts have found that the "public interest" related to finding things out about our politicians is so compelling, that one can say or publish almost any falsehood about them without fear of prosecution. The theory here is that the harm to such individuals (Can

  • by realmolo (574068) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:08AM (#29119009)

    So sue me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by geoffrobinson (109879)

      Would have been better if you posted as an AC.

    • I don't always call people I don't know bad names on the internet, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis.---The most anonymous man in the world

  • If this guy is tracked down I hope the judge tells him to use a proxy next time.
  • by ae1294 (1547521) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:12AM (#29119061) Journal

    Wow it must be nice to be able to force people to do whatever you want. If I could file a lawsuit to force slashdot to reveal the IP and email of every user that has ever insulted me and then sue them for 5000 each I'd be a very rich and happy man...

    Should have went to law school....or had a wealthy mommy and daddy... or become an actor....

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      If I could file a lawsuit to force slashdot to reveal the IP and email of every user that has ever insulted me and then sue them for 5000 each I'd be a very rich and happy man...

      There's a bit of a difference being someone saying "ae1294 is a jackass" (insult) and someone saying "ae1294 touches children" (slander). Whether or not what the blogger did qualifies as a simple insult or active slander is for the courts to decide. Hard to get to that point if the person remains anonymous.

      I don't have much sympathy for the blog author anyway. If she had the user agreement she would have known that Google has to respond to a valid subpoena. If she had been smart she would have used a p

      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        There's a bit of a difference being someone saying "ae1294 is a jackass" (insult) and someone saying "ae1294 touches children" (slander). Whether or not what the blogger did qualifies as a simple insult or active slander is for the courts to decide. Hard to get to that point if the person remains anonymous.

        Well G-wiz Shakrai not only did you just insult and slander my person but I bet you didn't check the /. user agreement before doing so...

    • and use the power of your office to intimidate others.

      There are all sorts of way to have power over people but none are as rewarding as having that power because they choose to work for and with you.

  • by Eevee (535658) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:15AM (#29119093)
    The judge today issued a warrant for "I. C. Wiener" of 405 West 43rd Street to appear in court.
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:15AM (#29119095)

    And Civilization lurches slightly forward.

    Lookit, you want to call Bush a Nazi Warmonger or Obama an Incompetent Puppet, or speak any kind of Truth to Power, I will be shoulder to shoulder with you on the ramparts in defense of your Freedom to Speak, you're a Patriot. You want to call a lady a "skanky ho," try to damage her reputation, and then hide like a coward, you are a Cad.

    The Internet has changed many things, but it has not changed everything.

    • And Civilization lurches slightly forward.

      Lookit, you want to call Bush a Nazi Warmonger or Obama an Incompetent Puppet, or speak any kind of Truth to Power, I will be shoulder to shoulder with you on the ramparts in defense of your Freedom to Speak, you're a Patriot. You want to call a lady a "skanky ho," try to damage her reputation, and then hide like a coward, you are a Cad.

      The Internet has changed many things, but it has not changed everything.

      Keep in mind that Bush and Obama are public figures [wikipedia.org] and so therefore are valid targets. So if this model is not

      * a public figure, either a public official or any other person pervasively involved in public affairs, or
      * a limited purpose public figure, meaning those who have "thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved." A "particularized determination" is required to decide whether a person is a limited purpose public figure, which can be variously interpreted.

      The blogger may have some issues. People's definitions of "skanky ho" vary and anyone presenting their body as most models do may seem like a "skanky ho" to a minor percentage of the population. It should be interesting to watch this case as "whoring" and "willingness to engage in oral sex" are probably pretty hard to identify when the blogger is only offering up photos.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865)

        I'm sorry, but that's not correct. I can call anyone names that I like. Whether they're "public figures" is not relevant. Are you seriously suggesting that every child on a playground or everyone who has had an unflattering opinion about someone that they've shared is looking at a potential valid lawsuit? I can say that I think Tiger Woods is a slut, but not your mom, because you'll sue? That's ridiculous.

        More frightening than violations of free speech are willful misunderstandings about free speech.

        Now, ha

    • by hamburgler007 (1420537) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:39AM (#29119473)
      Basically what you are saying is that if I say something insulting and demeaning about someone, and you agree, it is gravy. But if you disagree with me and find it indecent it is a completely different story.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Myopic (18616)

        Yes, that is pretty much the way American law is, and also the way American law should be (IMHO); and the important arbiter of the disagreement is truth. If she is, in fact, a skanky ho, then that will be demonstrated in court, and the skanky ho will lose. If she is not, in fact, a skanky ho, and that can be demonstrated, then the slanderer has in fact diminished her reputation, and is liable for that indecency. Furthermore, the law only begins to apply at sufficiently egregious degrees of speech, which wil

    • by pbhj (607776)

      You called me a "cad", you sir resemble your very insult.

      Being unkind, is, well, unkind. But if I have to visit your website for you to be unkind to me then I'll just not bother, simples.

    • You want to call a lady a "skanky ho," try to damage her reputation, and then hide like a coward, you are a Cad.

      Being a cad isn't illegal. How much weight does the public put into name-calling from anonymous hecklers? Practically none. If anything, I'd say that it would carry more authority if the poster had actually signed his name to it, because then a named individual would be signing his name to the fifth-grade insults.

      I don't care who you are; someone on the Internet doesn't like you. What can suing them do other than to give their opinions a vastly larger audience?

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        You want to call a lady a "skanky ho," try to damage her reputation, and then hide like a coward, you are a Cad.

        Being a cad isn't illegal.

        No, but asserting that a lady is a "skanky ho" (also, "psychotic") is illegal, if untrue. It's called defamation. Do you want me to Google that for you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      What damage to her reputation? Do you really think that a movie director or fashion show manager is going to be looking for a model and turn her down because some random, tiny, once updated blog calls her a skanky ho? If I were looking for a model and saw that I wouldn't think anything of it, if I saw that she was a litigious, self-righteous pain in the ass (as evidenced by her overreaction to said blog), that would make me think twice about hiring her.

      If someone is posting false information that actually

    • by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:46AM (#29119593)

      "I may not agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" is being replaced with "I do not agree with what you say and I'll sue you to death for my right to suppress it"

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        No it's not. Most people didn't agree with the first saying to begin with. There was just 1 really charismatic person that said it, and a few who kept it alive.

        Guess what? There are still people who believe that.

        It was never the country's motto, whatever you might think.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2obvious4u (871996)
      And then right back again.

      People need to grow some skin. Not everyone in the world likes you and not everyone is going to be nice to you. Calling you a "skanky ho" is not the same thing as falsely posting that contractor did shoddy work or that a politician had sex with you when he really didn't. In those cases there is actual damage being done. Calling someone a "skank", even if they are a model, on an internet forum or blog is par for the course. Get used to it and grow some skin. Hopefully she'll
      • by malkavian (9512)

        No, people need to get some etiquette. It's there to try and make sure that in general, you don't accidentally upset someone you didn't know was actually a psychotic lunatic and would take your head off for no reason.
        Suggesting that people "need to get a thick skin" because being rude and obnoxious is fast becoming the norm isn't a solution (hey, there's a hole in the roof. Lets invest in better buckets).
        Now if people actually grew a backbone and realised that there's no earthly reason to hide behind semi

    • I was under the impression that it's perfectly legal to state unkind opinions of others. Calling a woman a skank and a ho are matters of opinion, not fact. If you've seen Penn & Teller's Bullshit! you know that they call people "assholes" instead of "liars" for this reason. You can't sue someone for calling you an asshole. I don't see why you should be able to sue someone for calling you a skanky ho either.

    • by hessian (467078)

      lady

      [ citation needed ]

  • Not quite "Supreme" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ollabelle (980205) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:16AM (#29119113)
    Keep in mind that, in New York, the "New York Supreme Court" is their trial court, and its rulings can be overturned on appeal.
    • by ral (93840)
      Keep in mind that, in New York, the "New York Supreme Court" is their trial court, and its rulings can be overturned on appeal.

      Without a citation, I doubted this, but it's true: The New York Supreme Court is indeed a trial court [state.ny.us] and it is trumped by the New York Appellate Courts [state.ny.us]
  • I knew the site had been taken down, but I clicked on the link for the blog anyway. Blogger informed me that the blog wasn't available for viewing, but the blog title, skanksnyc was up for grabs.
  • by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:24AM (#29119245)
    People here keep harping that the internet is no different than other media in Point of view of first admendment and right to privacy. The question IS NOT "is it fair that the anonymity was revealed" but the question IS would this with other normal older media be a ground for a libel/slander lawsuit or not ? Would a photo poster with the person with " is a psychotic skank" a ground for slander ? Forget the part where it is a blog. Think about what the LAW would be for the older media. And in such a case, I think there is a good ground to say posting poster with " is a psychotic skank" can be seen as slandering. Once you have that step, then be it a paper poster, blog, or graved on a stone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      This isn't the Enquirer. This is some person with a copy machine and enough time to plaster those copies around a bit.

      The apparent lack of any real damages here seems to make this case ripe for summary dismissal.

    • [pedantry] Slander is spoken, a blog post would therefore be libel. [/pedantry]

      There is one significant difference between the World Wide Web and traditional media: globalisation. What you describe is a fine comparison if both the victim and libeller reside in say the USA but what would happen here if the blogger was not in the USA, perhaps in a country where there is no first amendment or right to privacy (like say the UK*). Google can provide the IP address, the US Court can authorise the revelation of th

  • Before I read this story, I had never even heard of this psychotic skank! That ho should fire her PR guy and hire her lawyer in his place!

    Trick-ass bitch.

    -Peter

  • Free Speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlHunt (982887) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:27AM (#29119295) Homepage Journal

    In my view, we should now preface everything we say with "I think" or "In my opinion". I think. In my opinion, we would then be immune from such lawsuits, which I think are idiotic. At least that's my opinion. Hereby released into the public domain, in my view.

    • by gubers33 (1302099)
      I agree that the blog would be put in the realm of free speech. I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion of other people. If this case were to go through and win it would set the precedent that you could sue anyone who has a bad opinion about you for defamation. I mean the KKK's website insults anyone who isn't a white redneck. (whoops the KKK can now sue me for defamation). Why the judge is even allowing this is beyond me.
      • Maybe since some people want blogs to be credible news sources, that is is an issue?

        If a blog is an opinion written by someone then this court ruling should be tossed out.

        If a blog is a credible news source then this court ruling is correct and should be carried out.

        Pick one you cannot have it both ways. Blogs are opinions or credible news sources. Blogs cannot change from one to the other depending on the situation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mea37 (1201159)

      That's a fascinating opinion. The legal fact is, you would not be immune from prosecution.

      What matters isn't whether you claim the statement is one of opinion vs. fact. What matters is whether the statement itself conveys a matter of opinion or a matter of fact.

      I do believe that the vast majority of ideas you might want to express can be framed properly as an opinion, but starting your sentence with "it is my opinion" isn't enough to keep you safe.

      "It is my opinion that John Smith is a terrible businessma

  • by pbhj (607776) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:35AM (#29119405) Homepage Journal

    This is going to be awesome if it goes to court and the court rules that she is, in fact, "a skank".

    I can see the T-shirts now ...

  • by jbezorg (1263978) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:38AM (#29119457)
    My initial thought isn't that the subject of the blog is the one with the issues.
  • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:40AM (#29119497)

    Uh, so the jist of this is, someone called someone else some names "out loud" (legal-beagle bullshit between verbal and print aside for a moment), and for some fucking reason this manages to bypass the 1st Amendment?

    Uh, anyone else wanna get in line with me to bitch-slap the shit out of this legal ruling all the way back to 1964?

    Give me a fucking break. I'd like to find the moron twitness they're going to bring in to give me the "legal" definition to prove she's NOT a "Skank" or "Ho". What, are they going to consult the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia as a reference for those, or does Webster stand as a more definitive source? If she's fucked more than 3 guys this year, does that qualify as "Ho" status, or does she need a pimp? Then again, don't all models have a "pimp" of some kind anyway?

    Nevermind the fact that she's a model, and therefore should legally fall under "public figure" with regards to libel/slander/defamation. However, if she would prefer NOT to be a public figure, keep pushing, and I'm sure you'll manage to burn all your bridges for model work in the future.

    Fuck, seems my sig manages to ring true every day...

  • Sob! they're calling me names on teh interwebs! I'm-a sue them for it! I'm-a get me all lawyered-up and sue them for defamation WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
    Come ON, people! First they create the 'crime' of cyber-bullying, now you can't have a negative opinion of someone without it becoming something you can sue someone in civil court over?
    When I was growing up, you were considered a loser if you went crying to an authority figure because some other kids were calling you names. We're talking about adults here, peopl
  • I am reminded of this [wikipedia.org]

    Granted that case is more about emotional distress than "defamation of character", but since I hadn't even heard of her and I had heard of Falwell... well how defamed can this chick really be? If someone in her industry really believed little bits of bullshit on a blog and didn't hire her, then maybe. Can you be subject of libel or slander if it doesn't cause you any damage?

    Obviously IANAL

  • Ex-model (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @12:08PM (#29119963) Homepage

    She's in the miserable position of being a 36-year old second-tier ex-model. That's tough.

    Modeling is a low-paying job, except at the top. The top 100 models make real money. The next 500 models do about as well as a successful office worker. Below that, nobody is making real money. The pay is high during work, but there are long dry spells. It's like acting in that respect. In LA, you meet broke actress/model/waitress types so often that it's a cliche.

    The work isn't really that much fun, either. Most models aren't doing fashion shows; they're doing catalogs and ads. "OK, next is dress DL-3342, blue, and hurry it up, we have fifty more to shoot before lunch."

  • History (Score:4, Informative)

    by johndiii (229824) * on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @12:16PM (#29120081) Journal

    Cohen had her face face slashed in a bar [foxnews.com] a couple of years ago (also here [nypost.com]). My guess would be that this lawsuit was an effort to find out if the same guy was after her again.

    There's a little more to this than anonymous insults on the Internet, and in this case it is probably justifiable to reveal the blogger's identity. Ideally, the police would look into it and determine whether or not the blogger is a threat (without making his identity public), but they likely do not have time to investigate anonymous Internet insults.

  • Does it strike anyone else as ironic that a government which supports development of technologies to circumvent the technical controls of information put in place by other governments would at the same time breach the privacy of a blogger? If the United States can so easily unmask a blogger then how do they expect to prevent countries like China and Iran from doing the same thing? If the technologies to enable anonymous speech become commonplace then they will be like many other tools, useful for doing both
  • by EWAdams (953502) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @12:45PM (#29120551) Homepage

    Whatever right you may think you have to anonymity -- a dubious concept, just because you're used to it doesn't make it law -- it comes to an end when you defame someone. If you want to be anonymous, then behave yourself. Otherwise, man up and take responsibility for your actions.

    Anonymity is valuable in repressive regimes and when people need certain kinds of assistance -- like gay teenagers or people seeing advice about venereal diseases. But most of the time, it's pernicious.

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