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Judge Rules To Reveal Anonymous Blogger's Identity Over Insults

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the truth-no-longer-the-best-defense-to-libel dept.

Privacy 271

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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271 comments

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Was it worth breaking privacy? (5, Interesting)

alain94040 (785132) | about 5 years ago | (#29118919)

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

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (5, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 5 years ago | (#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:Was it worth breaking privacy? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119289)

I suspect that you are my ex-girlfriend stalker that has been harassing me for months and I feel that your post is an intentional attack at me and my public image so as such I am now going to sue to get your IP, email and identity.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1, Interesting)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about 5 years ago | (#29119325)

No offense, but you could be hiding Osama bin Laden in your house, we should check there. He could have an atom bomb and the Lindbergh baby. I demand to know who kannibal_klown is to justify my belief.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119383)

I have it on good authority that Steauengeglase is a skanky ho. As a public figure (Slashdot poster), she is subject to my random ridicule. Hah.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 years ago | (#29119651)

Um... The Lindbergh baby was found over 77 years ago.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | about 5 years ago | (#29119825)

Even if she doesn't know who it is, libel is still libel. However, considering how low traffic the blog supposedly is, I'm surprised she was away of the statements at all.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29119025)

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 call your sister a slutty skank (by name, no less) on the internet versus calling Kate Moss a slutty skank.

Clearly this is an unfair action/ruling, but at the same time, I understand that it's a complex situation because when you're the one being ripped apart for no reason on the internet (especially if you're a nobody) where it will be indexed by search engines and archived forever by services and viewable by every potential friend, date, employer, and so on for eternity... it must completely suck.

The problem is two ideals here that seemingly can not exist and be re-enforced together. Presumably, one must win-out in the long run.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (3, Insightful)

El Jynx (548908) | about 5 years ago | (#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:Was it worth breaking privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119347)

The plural of "Forum" is "Forums" not "Fora".

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 5 years ago | (#29119267)

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 opposite, but I think the court is a decent method of finding a middle ground. Sometimes anonimity is more important, sometimes privacy is.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29119537)

Public figures do not have any exception to being defamed; in fact, perhaps just the opposite. If you make slanderous assertions about someone that everyone in the country knows versus making those claims about someone down the street, the impact is different.

But either way, it's very clear when something is merely opinion. "X is a skank" versus "X is a skank... because I witnessed her do a full on anonymous gang-bang in the Winterhawk's locker room" and if you're a public figure, being criticized and called names is just a part of the business. Do we really want to open every person who has ever voiced negative opinions about Britney Spears to a lawsuit?

Legislating "Celebrity" (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 5 years ago | (#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:Legislating "Celebrity" (2, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29119573)

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.

Re:Legislating "Celebrity" (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | about 5 years ago | (#29119661)

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?

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

pbhj (607776) | about 5 years ago | (#29119373)

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.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119491)

In this instance, not only is calling someone a "skank" an opinion

Maybe, but psychotic is a medical term.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | about 5 years ago | (#29119621)

"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!

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 years ago | (#29119771)

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:Was it worth breaking privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119297)

This isn't a fucking "privacy" issue, asshats. Nothing in privacy assures you the right to say whatever you want without anyone knowing it was you who said it. Privacy is a state of being concealed from view. Privacy is the ability to do what you want in your own home, where no one but you and those in your home can see or know it happened. When you go online and say something for everyone in the world to hear, you are no longer private. You are on the internet. The expectation that you should be able to hide who you are on the internet is foolish. Get over your entitlement, fuckwads.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29119343)

The idea that there is socially redeeming value in being able to publish anonymously predates the internet but at least a couple centuries.

The question is whether or not the current "defamation" issue warrants undermining that.

The "harm" here seems even more nebulous than the usual big media claims.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29119755)

Of course, whether or not it's socially redeeming isn't really even relevant. There are a lot of things that are not socially redeeming that are just fine. I don't have to validate the social value of reading comic books.

The question absolutely is whether the person's statements warrant legal concern for "defamation". The fact that it has made it this far indicates that either the judge is a fucking moron or that they possess very weighty facts that the rest of us are not aware of which make this an issue far beyond "that person called me a skank and I'm all bent out of shape and demand that you stop them from having an opinion!".

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29119715)

You're an idiot.

Nobody is arguing that one has an absolute right to privacy if they are making libelous claims, but nobody has the right to call you into account for stating opinions. There's no law against stating opinion and therefore no violation that qualifies for release of someone's private information.

If the guy was posting someone's social security number online or claiming that the person molested them or committed some horrible act, they would have a point. But there is no legal recourse for being called a skank.

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#29119781)

This isn't a fucking "privacy" issue, asshats. Nothing in privacy assures you the right to say whatever you want without anyone knowing it was you who said it. Privacy is a state of being concealed from view. Privacy is the ability to do what you want in your own home, where no one but you and those in your home can see or know it happened. When you go online and say something for everyone in the world to hear, you are no longer private. You are on the internet. The expectation that you should be able to hide who you are on the internet is foolish. Get over your entitlement, fuckwads.

You deserve a +2, Double Irony mod just for making that comment as AC and for throwing insults while you're at it. If I go to a doctor and tell about my medical issues, he might write me a sick notice for work. That I'm on sick leave is pretty much public, but the details of my issue is private. If I post on a forum where I can register with just a pseudonym, my posts are public but my identity is private. If information is being shared beyond the parties I have agreed to or could reasonably expect would be informed, then my privacy is being violated.

That said, I don't think anyone's entitled to remain anonymous after a court has found reasonable grounds for a criminal or civil lawsuit. It'd be very weird if anonymity were to function as some form of legal immunity, just like a search warrant is a pretty clear violation of privacy it's necessary to have a functioning justice system. P.S. I don't know about "should", but I'll settle for "can" and I don't mean my slashdot nick...

Why some old advice is still very relevant (2, Insightful)

managerialslime (739286) | about 5 years ago | (#29119375)

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 anonymous only until someone in authority decides otherwise.

For those in this forum who use other examples of people who appear to have successfully used web anonymity, be cautious before drawing premature conclusions. After all, in any given case, who is to say that someone who thinks they have been anonymous for the last five years is not merely in the middle of a 6 to 10 year investigation that includes secret monitoring by federal authorities?

In the end, the old advice still stands, "do not post anything that you would not want attributed to you on the evening news at the worst possible time and with the most unkind possible bias."

Re:Was it worth breaking privacy? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | about 5 years ago | (#29119391)

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:Was it worth breaking privacy? (2, Insightful)

mike449 (238450) | about 5 years ago | (#29119839)

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.

AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119013)

Slander? Did you speak to someone about Malda? Libel? Have you published something? Has there been a precedent set yet that posting on a web site or a blog constitutes publication for the purposes of libel? Perhaps we need to coin a new word for defamation on "electronic" media. That notwithstanding, Malda may decide to sue you simply for defamation and not worry about whether it's slander or libel.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about 5 years ago | (#29119315)

Perhaps we need to coin a new word for defamation on "electronic" media.

Please, no. Given the typical attempts to "Internetize" words, we'll either end up with eSlander or iBel.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (4, Insightful)

Trails (629752) | about 5 years ago | (#29119477)

I disagree.

I strongly believe the producing an internet-specific version of libel/slander would re-invigorate the paradigm, enable a net-new market, and actualize synergies of cross-medium defamation that would allow a best-of-breed convergence of mission-critical turnkey insult infomediaries while recontextualizing frictionless compelling channels.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (1)

dimeglio (456244) | about 5 years ago | (#29119677)

I wonder how works of fiction, such as what is posted in 4chan, would fit in all this. I say works of fiction as this is the disclaimer posted on top of the page. I presume those anons are fairly safe as long as they don't claim it's reality.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (1)

db32 (862117) | about 5 years ago | (#29119835)

I will be going after slashdot to reveal your identity for public endangerment. Reading those two lines increases your risk of an aneurysm 10 fold!

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 5 years ago | (#29119571)

iBel

Sorry, you can't use the "i" prefix without Apple's permission.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119041)

I am Anonymous Coward!

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119087)

NO!

I am Anonymous Coward!

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119109)

No, I am Anonymous Coward!

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119127)

No!! I'm Anonymous Coward/Keyser Soze/Brian/Spartacus.

Re:AC Apology to a One Robert Malda (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 5 years ago | (#29119469)

...before he forces a judge to make himself turn over my IP address in order to sue me for slander and libel.

Slashdot's web traffic would spike momentarily and then sink like a stone, possibly never to bounce back, if word of that got out. Rob will probably just give your i.p. and a few thousand bucks to the Russian mafia who will then make you "disappear" in a suspicious car accident.

Publicity stunt (1, Insightful)

thermowax (179226) | about 5 years ago | (#29118975)

I strongly suspect this is a last-ditch, desperate publicity ploy by a second-rate has-been model.

No matter what, bring on the Streisand effect!

Re:Publicity stunt (1)

Chickan (1070300) | about 5 years ago | (#29118981)

Its not even that, she's just a baby who can't get over the fact she's 37: http://internetdefamationblog.com/?tag=liskula-cohen [internetde...onblog.com]

Re:Publicity stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119401)

I strongly suspect this is a last-ditch, desperate publicity ploy by a second-rate has-been model.

No matter what, bring on the Streisand effect!

Its not even that, she's just a baby who can't get over the fact she's 37: http://internetdefamationblog.com/?tag=liskula-cohen [internetde...onblog.com]

Oooh, you two are so in trouble now....

Re:Publicity stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119023)

I strongly suspect this is a last-ditch, desperate publicity ploy by a second-rate has-been model.

No matter what, bring on the Streisand effect!

She'll get a reality show somewhere on cable. Maybe Ron Jeremy or an Osborne will be with her.

Now, i googled her to see exactly who she is and in photos, photos that supposedly add 5 pounds, she looks very thin.

Re:Publicity stunt (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#29119743)

What a cunning stunt it is indeed!

Slippery slope (3, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | about 5 years ago | (#29119001)

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.

Maybe..maybe not (1)

managerialslime (739286) | about 5 years ago | (#29119657)

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 you say Swiftboat?" Sure, I knew you could,) is outweighed by the benefit of public revelations of government crimes. (arms-for-hostages, lies about opponents having Black-ops prisons, torture of prisoners, etc.)

People who are "merely" public figures (Paris Hilton, for example) actually do have more rights than politicians and are sometimes successful in suing those that have wronged them via slander or libel.

People who are generally accepted to be private citizens have even more rights as they are not perceived to have the resources or media exposure to correct falsehoods published about them. In addition, the law continues to evolve and for the last forty or so years, private US citizens do have some degree of a "right to privacy," although nowhere near the degrees of our brothers in Europe.

Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | about 5 years ago | (#29119009)

So sue me.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (2, Funny)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 5 years ago | (#29119033)

Would have been better if you posted as an AC.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | about 5 years ago | (#29119407)

I'm shocked he didn't include his e-mail address.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119675)

Well, she is.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119217)

You're missing the point. There are no privacy rights related to free speech and anonymous trolling isn't protected. A lot of people may feel empowered by the anonymity that the web provides but it's a false sense of safety if you cross the line and he apparently did. You also can't make threats over the web and there have been cases involving that already. There's no laws about being an asshole on-line but you can't make false statements to attack another person. There are no special rights associated with the web the rule of thumb is what is true in the real world is true of the web.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29119381)

> There are no privacy rights related to free speech

Actually there are. It's a dangerous and destructive thing to try and claim otherwise.

This ranks right down there with the notion that audio CD's imply some sort of license.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | about 5 years ago | (#29119799)

I think you're wrong, but if you can provide some information to back up your position I'd be interested to read it.

We (in the US) have a right to free speech. We do not have a right to anonymous free speech.

It's true that there's an important history of anonymous political speech, and it's true that you're free to take steps don and protect your anonymity, but it's not true that the law protects you if someone manages to unmask you.

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29119807)

Since "skanky ho" is a statement of opinion, there is no "false statement" to consider here. If the statement was that she was a skanky ho "because she cheated on her husband", then that might definitely qualify since it is an absolute defamation of character (if it is a lie, of course).

Re:Liskula Cohen is a psychotic, skanky ho. (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 5 years ago | (#29119221)

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

proxy sieg heil (2, Funny)

kronosopher (1531873) | about 5 years ago | (#29119019)

If this guy is tracked down I hope the judge tells him to use a proxy next time.

Re:proxy sieg heil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119321)

a proxy? you mean 7 proxies.

cohen - need we say more (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119031)

when in doubt - sue . . .

Should have went to LAW school. (3, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 5 years ago | (#29119061)

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:Should have went to LAW school. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119183)

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...

In the older days of the internet there was a person who did just that (albeit not on Slashdot). They reportedly made a fortune.

Re:Should have went to LAW school. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119287)

Or, maybe you should have been a psychotic, skanky ho!

Re:Should have went to LAW school. (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29119361)

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 proxy and made sure they didn't know who she was either.

or be a member of Congress (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#29119369)

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.

Liskula Is A (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119089)

Nazi

New development! (4, Funny)

Eevee (535658) | about 5 years ago | (#29119093)

The judge today issued a warrant for "I. C. Wiener" of 405 West 43rd Street to appear in court.

Re:New development! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119567)

The judge today issued a warrant for "I. C. Wiener" of 405 West 43rd Street to appear in court.

In other news his attorney Semore Butz couldn't be reached for comment.

Decency Trumps Anonymity (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119249)

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.

No one calls me a Cad, sir! I must ask you to step outside.

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29119269)

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:Decency Trumps Anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119329)

RobotRunAmok, you're a skanky ho, puppet warmonger.

It's people like you that make this a bad ruling (5, Informative)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | about 5 years ago | (#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:Decency Trumps Anonymity (1)

pbhj (607776) | about 5 years ago | (#29119521)

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.

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#29119535)

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?

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#29119557)

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 damages a persons reputation then sure, but this does not qualify.

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 5 years ago | (#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"

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (2, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | about 5 years ago | (#29119645)

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 be picked up on south park and we'll see real hilarity ensue.

I hope this gets picked up by 4chan. I bet they'd have some fun with it.

Opinion vs. Fact (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#29119667)

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.

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119713)

First they came for the cads, but I did not speak up. (What a cad!)

Re:Decency Trumps Anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119845)

The defaming text was:

She's a psychotic, lying, whoring, still going to clubs at her age, skank.

While that's hardly gramatically correct English, it's clearly slander to accuse people of "lying" unless you can back it up with facts. I believe the other observations made above could be argued and won.

Now... GWB is a lying war criminal from a family of Nazi sympathisers. Obama is Wall Streets front man, a lying puppet suspended infront of a incredulous public via Kissingers war crimes.

Not quite "Supreme" (5, Informative)

Ollabelle (980205) | about 5 years ago | (#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.

Struck me as sort of funny (1)

hasbeard (982620) | about 5 years ago | (#29119119)

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.

Dictionary, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119123)

her client voluntarily took the blog down when Cohen initiated legal action against it.

I must have missed a meeting or something. Who redefined "voluntarily"?

Re:Dictionary, please (1)

localman57 (1340533) | about 5 years ago | (#29119305)

Nobody. "Voluntarily" means they did it before the court ordered them to. Just because I sue you and tell you to do something, it doesn't mean you have to do it. But if I sue you, and the Judge / Jury tells you to do something, then you do.

Re:Dictionary, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119437)

Your honor, the plaintiff voluntarily handed me the keys to his car when I pointed a gun at him. Clearly he was under no obligation to do that, so it was a gift, not armed robbery.

Meet the new media : like old media (2, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | about 5 years ago | (#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:Meet the new media : like old media (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29119441)

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.

Not quite the same (1)

crimperman (225941) | about 5 years ago | (#29119717)

[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 their name and address but how simple is it for the model to sue somebody for libel if that person resides outside the model's country?

I'm by no means condoning their behaviour - just wondering what happens if say a UK newspaper libels a citizen of the USA? Presumably in that case the US Citizen attempts to bring a libel in the UK because the libel would not have been published in the USA. So what happens when the blogger is from the USA and (as is *not* the case here) the blog is also outside the USA? In that aspect the World Wide Web is quite different from other media, wouldn't you say?

* IANAL but as far as I can tell there is no legislative rule in the UK which guarantees citizen's right to privacy in the way that the first amendment does in the USA. Heck we don't even have a constitution

Wow (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 5 years ago | (#29119255)

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

Stupid Skank (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119259)

nt

Free Speech (4, Insightful)

AlHunt (982887) | about 5 years ago | (#29119295)

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.

Re:Free Speech (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | about 5 years ago | (#29119397)

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.

Re:Free Speech (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | about 5 years ago | (#29119683)

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.

what if she is a skank (4, Funny)

pbhj (607776) | about 5 years ago | (#29119405)

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 ...

Re:what if she is a skank (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 5 years ago | (#29119629)

Like the Velvet Jones trial?

When I see a blog attacking a single person... (2, Insightful)

jbezorg (1263978) | about 5 years ago | (#29119457)

My initial thought isn't that the subject of the blog is the one with the issues.

Liskula Cohen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119475)

What a psychotic skank. I bet she's a cold fish in the sack. If you can't take the heat, get out of the limelight, you frigid bitch.

should have (1)

zcold (916632) | about 5 years ago | (#29119487)

used http://baywords.com/ [baywords.com]

So much for our Constitution. (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 years ago | (#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...

Cry me a river (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 5 years ago | (#29119539)

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, people! More to my point, we're talking about someone who is, in many respects, a public figure: she (ostensibly at least) puts herself before the judgement of the public on a routine basis because it's her job to do so; while I'm sure it's the aspiration of every model to be universally accepted and desired, the reality is that there are people who are NOT going to like someone; so what do you do? Do you (A)Accept that's life and move on, or (B)Sue everyone in sight who has something bad to say about you?
Oh, and for the record: I looked her up on Google Images, and I don't think she's attractive at all! Oh no I'm-a gonna get sued now aren't I, whatever will I do? XD
Grow up, honey, it's a tough world out there.
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