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Judge Orders Man To Delete Revenge Blog

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the do-you-take-requests-your-honor dept.

Social Networks 590

nonprofiteer writes "A Minnesota man violated a restraining order obtained by his ex-girlfriend by blogging about her mental health and sexual issues, and sending links to posts on the blog to her family, friends, and co-workers. The judge then extended the restraining order by 50 years, ordered the guy never to write about his ex on the Internet and ordered him to delete the blog he created. Even though there was no evidence that what he had written was false, the judge said the ex-girlfriend's 'right to be free from harassment' outweighed the guy's 'right to free speech.' 'I believe it's rare, if not unprecedented, for a court to order an entire blog deleted,' says technology law professor Eric Goldman."

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590 comments

hipaa violation as well? (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366302)

can he now be fined for that as well?

Re:hipaa violation as well? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366318)

no he is not a health organization.

Re:hipaa violation as well? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366660)

they should let him hassle her so the other "ladies" can see it and learn how to pick better men. it would be for the greater good.

"oh I just love bad boys." "wait, he's also bad to ME?! like, I am like so totally shocked!"

Re:hipaa violation as well? (4, Insightful)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366340)

Only if he's a medical professional. HIPAA does not apply to the general public, only medical service providers.

I'm really torn on this one... On the one hand, yeah, free speech. On the other hand... that borders on stalking, and possibly endangering her. On the other other hand, do we really need yet more government intervention to enforce niceness? Where do you draw the line at "you can be THIS much of a jerk, but any more and the law steps in"?

Re:hipaa violation as well? (4, Informative)

BZ (40346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366380)

Usually that line is drawn at whatever the criteria are for getting a restraining order. What those are varies by jurisdiction, I bet.

Re:hipaa violation as well? (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366452)

Where do you draw the line at "you can be THIS much of a jerk, but any more and the law steps in"?

If you were to measure the damage in dollar amounts, you can take someone to court for very small amounts, less than $100.

In my book, he crossed the line with his demonstrated intent to hurt her. He isn't trying to protect the general public by sharing this knowledge, and he isn't even trying to entertain people. His pure goal is to hurt her however he can (ironically he might have a sub-goal of getting her back). I see no problem if we as a society protect people like that with restraining orders and such.

Re:hipaa violation as well? (5, Interesting)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366686)

You have to question whether the intent was necessarily just to hurt her though. It could have also been, from his perspective, a way to defend himself from what he saw as slander from her. Clearly the judge didn't think so, but judges aren't infallible.

The ultimate problem with restraining orders is that they're not some sort of magical force field. Often in order to get a restraining order, one party has to claim to be afraid of physical harm from the other. The thing is, someone truly dangerous isn't going to be stopped for a second by a restraining order. They may, however, help keep marginal situations from escalating by keeping people apart. Simply preventing people's feelings from being hurt is another matter, however. Harassment is one thing, but where does normal relationship bitterness end and harassment begin? It seems like the ex-boyfriend in this case went a little too far, but it seems like the judge went a lot too far.

And to add my own personal experience with restraining orders; once, years and years back, I went with my then girlfriend while she was babysitting a friend's children. It turned out that her friend and her husband were having relationship difficulty and she had a restraining order against him forbidding him from being within some particular distance of her. So, naturally, her big plans for the evening were to go to where she knew he would be and force him to leave and then follow him around the whole night. And that really does seem to be how restraining orders are usually used: just one more weapon in the troubled relationship arsenal. The people getting the restraining orders are quite often aggressors rather than victims, or at least are aggressors as well as victims.

Re:hipaa violation as well? (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366728)

You have to question whether the intent was necessarily just to hurt her though. It could have also been, from his perspective, a way to defend himself from what he saw as slander from her.

Figuring out intent may be the #1 difficulty with our legal system today. A lot of laws rely on intent as a distinguishing factor in how serious a crime is (it's the difference between first degree murder and man-slaughter). The difficulty is, of course, that it's impossible to do accurately.

Re:hipaa violation as well? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366746)

So, naturally, her big plans for the evening were to go to where she knew he would be and force him to leave and then follow him around the whole night.

What a great friend. :/

Re:hipaa violation as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366866)

The problem is, her goal might have been to hurt him, originally. We don't forbid that; why should we forbid the tat and not the tit?

Re:hipaa violation as well? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366538)

Well, there's a tort here of willfully causing emotional distress, which could be litigated, and a jury would be within its legitimate power to order a remedy to the harm he's causing. Ordinarily that would mean taking his money and giving it to the plaintiff. As for forcing him to STFU, I'd be a lot more comfortable with a jury in a civil action deciding that than a judge or any other government official.

-jcr

Re:hipaa violation as well? (5, Interesting)

jagapen (11417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366748)

That's not how our legal system works, though. With limited exceptions*, juries are the finders of fact and judges are the finders of law. In this case, the question of whether the man committed the tort of intentional infliction of emotional harm is a question of fact and thus would go to the jury. If they said yes, then the remedy for the damage caused be the tort is a question of law and thus is a matter for the judge. (In this case, the remedy is enjoining him to delete the blog and to refrain from further writing about the particular topics relating to his ex.) It is entirely appropriate, in our court system, for the judge to make such orders.

Personally, I have no problem with this order. A ruling by a court is a very, very different thing than an act of an executive or legislative body. Rulings by courts of original jurisdiction generally have little precedential power (i.e. they don't bind other courts; one ruling does not stare decisis make) and they are much easier to fight and undo than a statute or executive order. Also, it is entirely consistent with centuries-old doctrines regarding harassment and innumerable previous rulings which have not destroyed free speech. Adding "...on the Internet" does not make it a new and troubling concept.

* Trivia: Wisconsin's constitution makes juries the finders of fact and law in libel cases.

Re:hipaa violation as well? (5, Funny)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366588)

I'm really torn on this one... On the one hand... On the other hand... On the other other hand...

How many hands do you have?

Re:hipaa violation as well? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366664)

You could always just play guessing games about his intentions and tell everyone that people have the right to not be offended. That method seems to be quite popular.

Streisand Effect (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366306)

When will they ever learn........ Sigh.....

Re:Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366330)

So where is his blog? If it was taken down was it cached or copied to some other location?

Re:Streisand Effect (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366332)

He was sending links to the blog to her family and friends... do you really think ignoring it until it stopped was really the best solution?

Re:Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366620)

If the family and friends do not wish to communicate with this man, there are existing harassment laws that cover that type of situation.

Re:Streisand Effect (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366676)

do you really think ignoring it until it stopped was really the best solution?

Yeah. Unless he was holding them hostage and forcing them to view the content, yeah. Sending links? Really? Just don't click on them.

Well... (5, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366326)

He violated a restraining order. The first amendment issue isn't novel just because he happens to be talking about her on a computer.

Re:Well... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366350)

restraining orders usually cover things like physical distance and direct communication. writing about her doesn't seem like a problem unless it was specified in the restraining order. he should be in the clear if he isn't slandering. it wouldn't shock me if this judge was some neo-feminist windbag. a lot of them are.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366416)

harassing someone who has a restraining order on you is a good way to get locked up, carefully toeing the line of what your restraining order will let you do is a good way to get a 500 page restraining order where you have to ask the permission of the court to fart.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366822)

Carefully toeing the line of what your restraining order will let you do is a good way to get a 500 page restraining order where you have to ask the permission of the court to fart.

By "carefully toeing the line" I presume you mean "not actually violating the restraining order"?

The man should be punished for harassing his ex-girlfriend. Depriving him of his First Amendment rights, however, should not be part of that punishment.

Re:Well... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366428)

Restraining orders are also supposed to bar harassment as well. I'm personally troubled by this order as it tramples all over his 1st amendment rights and if this isn't over turned it represents a serious threat to freedom.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366478)

Wouldn't any order that bars harassment trample first amendment rights regardless of whether or not these things were said on the internet? I don't know if the things he said can be classified under "fighting words" and thus exempt from first amendment protection (probably not).

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366564)

How the fuck is this trampling on free speech? It is clearly speech that is NOT covered as political or in the public interest

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366682)

How the fuck is this trampling on free speech? It is clearly speech that is NOT covered as political or in the public interest

I take it you're not American or are just very ignorant of the Bill of Rights.

The concept of "public interest" or "political" has no bearing. The First Amendment makes no such distinctions. While the courts have upheld some restrictions of free speech (time/place/manner restrictions, clear and present danger tests, harassment, libel, and etc.) a blog saying something unflattering is protected speech (unless it's libel, in which case that's a matter for a civil court).

Re:Well... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366740)

It doesn't have no bearing--the Supreme Court has held that political speech is that speech which is most protected by the First Amendment. While other speech is still protected, and protected in a major way, the protection of political speech is a fundamental and core purpose of the First Amendment--and courts are more protective of political speech for this reason.

Re:Well... (4, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366838)

the Supreme Court has held that political speech is that speech which is most protected by the First Amendment.

I guess my question for the supreme court is: where does the first amendment mention anything like that?

The supreme court likely has interpreted it as you say, but I don't think their interpretations are valid (but they do have more power than me).

Re:Well... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366698)

There's no such requirement to have freedom of speech. The point of freedom of speech is that the government doesn't always know what speech should be allowed and as such doesn't regulate it except under specific circumstances.

This wouldn't typically be excluded as the information was apparently factually correct.

Re:Well... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366714)

How is it not trampling on free speech? Was what he said speech? Well, yes.

Now, it might not have trampled on protected speech (not mentioned in the constitution, but ignore that). But if you just say "free speech," then that, to me, refers to all speech.

Re:Well... (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366768)

How the fuck is this trampling on free speech? It is clearly speech that is NOT covered as political or in the public interest

How the hell did you get modded "insightful"? Speech need not be "political" or "in the public interest" to be worthy of protection under the First Amendment.

Re:Well... (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366638)

Restraining orders are also supposed to bar harassment as well. I'm personally troubled by this order as it tramples all over his 1st amendment rights and if this isn't over turned it represents a serious threat to freedom.

As noted below, he consented to the restraining order. Thus, the 1st amendment "violations" are just as enforceable as any NDA, because he consented to the limitation of his rights.

Re:Well... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366688)

And precisely what were the options if he didn't consent? That's the crux, it might not be literally duress, but threatening sanctions if he didn't sign is hardly the same thing as signing an NDA to get a job.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366846)

And precisely what were the options if he didn't consent? That's the crux, it might not be literally duress, but threatening sanctions if he didn't sign is hardly the same thing as signing an NDA to get a job.

He could have contested the restraining order, and fought it in court. Possibly, he also consented to the restraining order in order to settle a criminal charge.

Settlements hand out confidentiality clauses like they're candy, and this usually is detrimental to the individual receiving the settlement, yet no matter how horrible the confidentiality agreement sucks for the person later on in life, the clause is still enforceable.

Shit sucks, he was informed of the consequences, and he consented. Now, he has to live with it. Life sucks, quite often in fact. However, in general it is not the duty of the court to let a person out of obligations that they gave informed consent to, just because they didn't realize how much the obligation would suck ass at the time.

Re:Well... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366476)

and direct communication.

That's the thing: he was directly sending messages to her and her relatives. That is likely the primary reasoning behind the order. (NB. I didn't read the TFA yet.)

Re:Well... (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366754)

Was he really ordered to delete his blog? More likely the reporter got the facts wrong. The story makes much more sense if the court merely ordered him to take it down. Once it has gone public, deleting information can be near impossible. Either the story is inaccurate, or both the judge and the blogger are stupid. The judge, for thinking that deleting public information is within anyone's power, and that such an order is not hugely overreaching and unlawful censorship, and the blogger for not having a local copy.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366488)

restraining orders usually cover things like physical distance and direct communication. writing about her doesn't seem like a problem unless it was specified in the restraining order. he should be in the clear if he isn't slandering.

From TFA:

On December 22, Arlotta consented to entry of a six-month HRO that prohibited him from (1) committing any acts “intended to adversely affect [Johnson's] safety, security, or privacy, [emph mine]

He started the blog the day after.

it wouldn't shock me if this judge was some neo-feminist windbag. a lot of them are.

It wouldn't shock me if you were a fucking idiot. A lot of anons are.

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366674)

Since people seem to know all about slandering and libel, I'd like to point out false light [wikipedia.org] , which is about privacy rather than truthiness, and I believe (as a nonlawyer) that it applies to this situation.

I was going to make some witty comment about being anon and not being a "fucking idiot", but I gave up and resorted to this metajoke.

Re:Well... (1, Redundant)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366472)

Well, according to law professor Eric Goldman, ordering someone to delete their blog IS rare and perhaps unprecedented. That's something I heard somewhere.

Remedy matches violation (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366596)

Well, according to law professor Eric Goldman, ordering someone to delete their blog IS rare and perhaps unprecedented.

Probably because someone establishing a blog for the sole purposes of harassing someone they are already under a restraining order not to harrss, and then setting up sock-puppet accounts on social networking sites to relay the harassing blog posts to the family and friends of the victim isn't the kind of violation of a restraining order that has come up all that much in the past.

(Then again, I could swear I've seen several news stories over the year on Slashdot of cases when harassing or threatening webages were ordered to be taken down by courts -- perhaps not in cases involving a pre-existing restraining order -- so the only thing here that would seem to be potentially unprecedented is that the webpage used for harassment happened to be a blog rather than some other style of page, or perhaps the particular context of the harassment which resulted in the order. This would seem to be lowering the bar on "unprecedented" quite a bit.)

Re:Remedy matches violation (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366636)

so the only thing here that would seem to be potentially unprecedented is that the webpage used for harassment happened to be a blog rather than some other style of page

lol that's a good point. This kind of stuff is FAR from infrequent.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366604)

For what it is worth, I agree with you. However I still don't agree with the premise that ordering the blog deleted does not overstep a boundary.

If it was harassment, he should be arrested for harassment. If it was a violation of his restraining order, he should be violated and locked up. If he does it again, it should all happen again -- harsher and harsher.

To me, the blog itself was not the harassment; he could have sat around on somedouchebaghateshisex.blogspot.com forever ranting into the wind and I doubt anybody would have cared. It was the way he essentially stalked her via sending his nonsense to her family and friends that crossed the line. That being the case, that is the behavior that should be punished and stopped. His right to be a dickhead and write his drivel should not.

What he should have done... (4, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366658)

What he should have done was turn it into a religious issue.

Let's say I stand outside a gay person's house (could be any minority group, gay is an example) with a sign that says I hate them and I'm going to burn them. I'd be arrested for threatening that person.

Now if I stand outside that same person's house with a sign that says God hates them and God will burn them in Hell, that's perfectly fine for some reason.

Sounds familiar (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366344)

I used to revenge blog, until I took an arrow to the knee.

Welcome to MN (3, Informative)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366354)

Lived here all my life. There's no point in trying to warn anyone that a specific Minnesotan woman is crazy. Welcome to the norm for all Minnesotan women. ;)

Re:Welcome to MN (0)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366396)

But what about Cindy Walsh? Don't tell me she was crazy!

(yeah, I know way too much about the Walsh family)

Re:Welcome to MN (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366516)

Only the norm in Minnesota? Heh...are you ever kidding yourself and others.

Re:Welcome to MN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366796)

I hate to break it to you.... all woman are crazy. It doesn't matter if they are Chinese, Canadian, Minnesotan, Russian, European, Jersian

Sounds like the judge... (1)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366358)

wants to set a precedent in case someone wants to blog about his sexual issues in the future. But seriously if someone has a restraining order on you and you umm be the asshole people will think your the asshole whatever the case may be.

Re:Sounds like the judge... (0)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366400)

huh? well I agree the target of the restraining order will always be assumed to be the asshole by the public. doubly so if the target's a man.

Re:Sounds like the judge... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366468)

And most of the the time they will be right.

Re:Sounds like the judge... (0)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366482)

only if argumentum ad populum is applied by misandric cunts like yourself to the situation.

Re:Sounds like the judge... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366730)

I see, so you hate the vagina ...
Tell me about your mother.

Blame the victim (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366364)

So, telling other people the truth about someone is harassment? Obviously, sheep deserve to be killed; they speak up and make noise when they sense a wolve in the flock! If someone treats you bad, it is harassment to warn others of that persons behavior. Right? I THINK that is what the judge was saying... Who needs free speech anyway.

Re:Blame the victim (2)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366422)

dont worry so much.. if a woman ever does this you can be sure her free speech will be protected. that's all that matters..

Re:Blame the victim (3, Insightful)

moozey (2437812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366512)

Sexuality is a touchy (and usually extremely private) subject and not one most people are comfortable talking about. Regardless of whether the man is publishing truths or not shouldn't matter, the woman has a right to her privacy and if the male in question wants to be so immature in the way he deals with his emotions then he deserves whatever reasonable punishment that gets thrown his way.

Re:Blame the victim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366830)

Regardless of whether the man is publishing truths or not shouldn't matter

Fortunately for the rest of us, we live in a society that enshrines specific rights; one of them being Freedom of Speech.

the woman has a right to her privacy

While the concept of a right to privacy exists in the minds of the judges, it does not exist as a concept that prevents an individual from freely discussing the proclivities of another person. Gossip is not a crime.

Re:Blame the victim (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366522)

Nope that is not what the judge is saying at all. What we have here is someone who wrote about his ex. OK. But ALSO sent links to her friends, family, and co-workers, despite a restraining enjoining him from "committing any acts 'intended to adversely affect [Johnson's] safety, security, or privacy'". He was already behaving badly enough that she got a restraining order, then knowingly violating the restraining order. He then tried to say that technically the restraining order prohibited contacting *her*, and he was merely contacting everyone she knows. I am a true libertarian and a defender of free speech, but it really sounds like this guy was unhinged about this breakup and this really needed to be done.

I want to know who this man is. (2, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366424)

I'll get him to relay messages to me and I'll post them anonymously to a blog. They judge is going to have to order him to not speak to anyone about his ex to shut it down. Let's see how well that goes over with the ACLU.

LK

Re:I want to know who this man is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366456)

Why bring up the ACLU? Any American who values the Constitution would be concerned.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (2, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366464)

Why bring up the ACLU? Any American who values the Constitution would be concerned.

Because they'll take the fight to court on their own dime.

LK

Re:I want to know who this man is. (0)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366466)

all 5 of them?

a sad state of affairs indeed. most americans will knee jerk to the woman's defense, twisting wahtever laws are needed to justify their emotional justification.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366584)

He violated a restraining order. The only sad state of affairs is how little you managed to read of the article.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366710)

I'm not sure it's a purely emotional justification. Your average person enjoys a little bit of privacy protection, assuming they don't opt to become celebrities. He crossed the line, they slapped a restraining order on him, then he broke it. The dude is more than a douche, he intentionally acted against the legal protections of another's privacy and freedom from harassment.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (5, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366594)

Why bring up the ACLU? Any American who values the Constitution would be concerned.

Except that the guy consented to the restriction not to adversely affect her privacy.

He already willingly forfeited his right to free speech in this case, the court is simply enforcing his word. If this punishment were overturned, then it would be precedent to make NDAs unenforceable as well.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366590)

Your rights stop where her rights begin; faggot.

Like hell you do. (5, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366598)

I'll get him to relay messages to me and I'll post them anonymously to a blog.

A word of advice:

Don't step into someone else's shit until you know how deep it is.

Conspiracy to violate a court order is not going to end well for you or for some nutcase revenge blogger ---- and maybe a stalker ---- who now has a new target in his sights.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366666)

Have fun fighting that contempt of court charge.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366742)

Great, and you'd be helping him post intrusive and abusive messages about his ex. Is it because this is a blog that makes it so unique, or is it a gender thing? Let's reverse the genders. Say it was an woman who wrote a blog about how her ex-boyfriend had a tiny penis, never got her off during sex, and was super into dressing up like a fat goat during sex. Now say she sent a link to all of that to the man's parents, brother, friends, co-workers... That's textbook harassment whether or not he is in fact a poorly endowed selfish goat enthusiast. The man in this article is an idiot, who taunted the judge and harassed this woman's family, friends, and co-workers. He deserved - at a minimum - to lose the blog.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366810)

With the genders reversed, if there was a court order against the woman to stop blogging about her ex ... yes, I think that (for example) mirroring her blog in another jurisdiction would be the right thing to do.

I'm happy with a restraining order restricting "push"-type communications (threatening phone calls at 1am, harassing emails to friends and family, etc). That's just a specialised application of the concept of anti-spam. When they try to restrict "pull"-type communications (there is a webserver: if you send a request, it will return a copy of a webpage), I think they've gone too far.

I wonder if the man in question could simply forget/delete the password to his blogging account. Then it's no longer under his control.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (2)

spintriae (958955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366772)

And here I thought /. cared about a person's right to privacy. I guess it's completely evil and deplorable for Google and Facebook to invade your privacy, but perfectly legitimate for some asshole with a grudge to do it. In fact, we should encourage him and help him and undermine the law to do so.

Stay classy, /.

Re:I want to know who this man is. (4, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366806)

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

- Evelyn Beatrice Hall

I disapprove of what you say, but I will conspire with you in ruining an innocent woman's life just to prove a point about free speech.

- LK

I think I like the original version better...

Official Response (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366448)

She was a total cunt.

Signed, Anon.

This is likely setting a precedent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366474)

prohibiting criticisms political, of corporate rule, regulations and the rule of law in general. Dare not speak out against the beast lest you be placed in the dungeon or worse. Where there was once freedom of speech in a country that literally invited everyone in the world to come and live, work, raise a family, now there is only a remnant few who can even remember those days. It is reminiscent of the budweiser commercial of Frankie and Louie. "Enjoy it why you can, Hotshot, your days are numbered.." "Quiet, they'll hear you." "Oh Yeah? I did the tongue thing. This could have been huge. This was [America].."

I call bullshit (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366504)

There are some major assholes out there... and it would be great if they couldn't talk. But this is total bullshit. You should be able to rant and rave about your ex-wife/girlfriend on the internet or where-ever else you want. Her family could easily have blocked his emails. They didn't have to visit the site. They could have even complained to his ISP and the ISP could have terminated his account... something I've actually seen happen (I've worked for many ISPs over the years)

The government baring you from mentioning a person for 50 years? That's just a tad too distopian for my tastes... even if the guy deserved it.

Re:I call bullshit (4, Informative)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366552)

I call bullshit on your bullshit.
"A Minnesota man violated a restraining order obtained by his ex-girlfriend ..."
A restraining order can stop someone from approaching, harassing, intimidating,
threatening, etc.

He did something to deserve that restraining order. Then he violated it.

People vent on their ex'es all the time. Show me someone that has
a restraining order just for that, and I'll agree to call bullshit on it.

Re:I call bullshit (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366774)

Ok, so if your ex want to send your parents, siblings, cousins, aunt and uncles emails saying you can't get off unless there is a dog in the room watching, you'd be ok with that? Because your family could easily block her emails. They wouldn't have to visit the site where she describes your long sessions watching sex scenes on animal planet whilst gorging on pizza covered in peanut butter. They could even complain to her ISP to get her account canceled (ok this part is where it gets silly. You are for free speech to the point of allowing a man to abusively harass his ex-girlfriend, but support cutting off his internet access entirely? Hey at least he'd have a blog he can't access).

Nonissue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366536)

In some places a restraining order can force the abuser to give up their firearms.

If you can do that without raising 2nd amendment issues, I think it's safe to say there's no 1st amendment issue either.

Arlotta e-mailed links to the blog to Johnson’s family, friends, and Morgan Stanley co-workers, and sent it to them on Facebook using fake identities

Restraining orders can also be used to force the abuser to cease contact with friends, employers, family members, etc. No contact means NO CONTACT.

If he wanted to vent anonymously, he should have done that, gone to therapy, what have you. Anything else is just the continued abuse of the victim.. That's the whole point of restraining orders, to force the person to get out of the victim's life. He has to cease all activities which causes harm, mental or physical, to the victim.

His actions could be interpreted as a type of defamation, or even a privacy issue. IANAL but I'd say false light [wikipedia.org] might apply. There's more to defamation than slander/libel, which requires truth.

I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (3, Interesting)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366542)

Unpopular, despicable and even odious speech is protected constitutionally and this fellow is entitled to write whatever he cares to and publish it in whatever manner he sees fit, be it internet blog, book or clay tablets.

Now where the Judge -does- has specific powers to help this woman out is in limiting this fellows -contact actions- that are specifically targeted at this woman and her friends, family and co-workers. He does not publish the blog -at- anyone. He publishes it for everyone. Emails, notes and letters sent to specific individuals is not publishing, it is direct communication which he can be ordered to cease without violating his fundamental constitutional right to free speech.

.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (5, Informative)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366724)

Well, you need to look into constitutional law a little more. First amendment rights vary according to the type of speech and the subject.

Political speech gets very broad protection -- your political rants and screeds, no matter how odious, pretty much are protected. When you start advocating violence against a particular person or group, however, you have reached the boundary. You are not protected from the consequences of said speech, either.

Commercial speech (ie: advertisements) get much less protection. Like the FTC might come down on you for truth in advertising issues. The FDA prohibits certain forms of advertising for prescription drugs.

If you direct attacks at a particular person, who that person is has impact on your protection. Is the person a politician either in or running for office? Fire away, pretty much. Does the person live in the public eye? Famous actors have to put up with a lot of crap. Is the person just a normal Joe trying to get by? The court tolerates much less crap aimed at them.

Libelous and slanderous speech is always subject to remedy.

Anyway, the d-bag in question clearly wasn't making a political point, and the victim certainly wasn't a politician or movie star. This was a private person trying to have some privacy, and some d-bag being a d-bag in a very public way. It is a fact that the truth is always an absolute defense against libel, so maybe if what he said was true you can't shut him down for libel. But hurtful speech directed against a private person is not going to get very much first amendment protection. And I'm OK with that. That's a very different thing from a political rant.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (4, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366770)

Well, you need to look into constitutional law a little more. First amendment rights vary according to the type of speech and the subject.

Well, if you want me to read the first amendment, then I'm not finding anything about that.

If you want me to look at the invisible exceptions that judges have 'interpreted' into the constitution, then I guess you're right.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366726)

I'm really not that bothered. I've long been on the "free speech, period!" bandwagon, but realistically all our rights have limits, and those limits generally start about where someone else's rights begin. You have religious freedom, so long as your religion doesn't involve deflowering underage girls, for example. We put you in jail for that. This guy isn't saying anything of value. He's just being a dick. At some point his right to be a dick has to give way to her right not to be harassed for the rest of her life.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (1, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366778)

This guy isn't saying anything of value.

Subjective.

I've long been on the "free speech, period!" bandwagon

Are you certain? That implies to me that you're in favor of absolute freedom of speech.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366752)

The thing is, there are still laws to protect other people's privacy. What he did is still illegal. Whether or not his statements were true doesn't matter. Even if he wrote only the truth, he was still disclosing private facts about an individual to the public. Yes, this happens all the time, almost entirely to celebrities, but what makes it illegal is that the information is highly offensive to whoever the info is about (assuming that person is of reasonable disposition) and that it's not of legitimate concern to the public.

It's the second one that separates this guy from tabloid reporters and the like.

And if he was lying, well, that's libel and is definitely illegal.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366766)

According to TFS, he was sending links to posts on the blog to her family, friends, and co-workers.

Re:I -do- think this order is un-constitutional. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366788)

The judge is full of shit, there is no such 'right to be free from harassment' anywhere in the constitution but there is a right to free speech. If this order is allowed to stand as precedent, it might be used by wealthy people to stop the media from revealing their dirty laundry by just by complaining they are being harassed.

The only thing this girl can do about this is sue for libel and get some money out of him if found guilty.

He sounds like he was a horrible person. (1)

AtomicAdam (959649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366642)

Well I wonder how graphic the stuff he wrote actually was. I mean that would determine if the judge is being far to swift with the judgement.

However, just to throw down some perspective, this girl probably has some other boy friend/husband(eventually I'm sure) now. We can piss and moan about this guy and his freedom to speech blah blah but I'm all for the old days when someone talks bad about your girl/wife... We'll I'm sure there are many people here who would in a /ragefist type of way want to exact sweet revenge and drink his tears...

--

It's late and I have finals please don't hold me responsible for any rants

Just move on, dude... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366694)

that's all I have to say.

Unprecedented? Probably. Unreasonable? No. (2)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366704)

I'll grant that it may be an unprecedented move to delete the entire blog. However, it appears that the ONLY use for it was to get revenge on his ex.

If it contained a reasonable number of posts unrelated to his ex, the judge may have simply ordered that the violating posts be deleted.

But since all of the posts were violations, it seems reasonable for him to delete the entire thing.

Stick it on Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366732)

Note to future self: Post all revenge blogs directly to facebook. That way the burden of deleting and proving that it has been deleted can fall on them!

Delete Slashdot (1, Interesting)

nickdc (1444247) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366738)

Some poster called me a crazy conservative, foxnews lovin, right wing republican. I have a right to be free from harassment so that's grounds for deletion. Expect to hear from my lawyers soon Slashdot. Have a nice day.

Yes... and no. (1, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38366820)

"the judge said the ex-girlfriend's 'right to be free from harassment' outweighed the guy's 'right to free speech.' "

I would agree that this is true, but only to the extent that the speech is actually part of a harassing communication, such as being sent to the girl's friends or family.

If, however, he is simply speaking about his own experiences on his own website, and does not bother the girl's friends or family with invitations to read it, then I can see absolutely no compelling reason why he should be denied the right to express his opinions on whomever he desires to talk about.

Re:Yes... and no. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38366862)

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