×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: Undoing an Internet Smear Campaign?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the time-for-the-more-speech-defense dept.

The Internet 338

An anonymous reader writes "My fiancee is a professional writer. She has a great industry reputation and everyone that knows her loves her. But her ex-husband has maintained a number of websites in her name (literally, the URL is her name) that are filled with insane ravings and defamatory content. Have you ever had to deal with an internet smear campaign? The results float to the top of every Google or Bing search of her name. He currently lives abroad and cannot be served with legal papers. His websites are hosted overseas as well, and do not respond to conventional letters or petitions. Because of his freedom of speech rights, few U.S. courts will assert that his websites are truly libelous, either, and it's still difficult to prove any real 'damages' are done by it. Still, we'd like to see them go away. I'm turning to the best community of geeks in the world: how do I deal with this given the limited options at my disposal?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

338 comments

three letters... (2, Insightful)

jfalcon (163956) | about a year ago | (#42455453)

SEO

four letters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455519)

DMCA

Re:four letters... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455637)

DMCA is only for copyright violations

Re:three letters... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455563)

mmmm... I wouldn't bother. Seems like you'd be feeding the troll. Why spend time and effort on that?

Honestly, the only thing I could say is just endure and tell people the truth of the situation if they ask. If this guy maintains this for any huge length of time, he just looks sad.

Re:three letters... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455929)

Got to agree with the preceding AC.

Sounds like something she needs to resolve, but I'm guessing your involvement will not improve matters.

Re:three letters... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455587)

Indeed. Google and Bing consider the "insane ravings" as more relevant than the articles your fiancee writes, which doesn't say much about the popularity of your fiancee's work. Given this, it's fairly unlikely that she is losing any significant readership as a result of the ex's campaign.

Re:three letters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455957)

I was thinking MDK.
Yay!! Demolition Man!

Fight speech with more speech? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455465)

Put up your own website... fill it with good content... get links?

Re:Fight speech with more speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455713)

Or post to Slashdot explaining the situation...oh, wait.

Re:Fight speech with more speech? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456019)

Also, post links to Slashdot. What'll happen is the /. effect will take the site down.

Possibility (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455479)

"Because of his freedom of speech rights, few U.S. courts will assert that his websites are truly libelous, either, and it's still difficult to prove any real 'damages' are done by it. Still, we'd like to see them go away."

Simple. Form a Corporation using the name. Instant win.

Re:Possibility (4, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#42455805)

"few U.S. courts will assert that his websites are truly libelous, either, and it's still difficult to prove any real 'damages' are done by it"

This makes me wonder what exactly the content is, if it's not truly libelous and there is no real damage being done is there really a problem? Seems more like a 'he's written something i don't like' situation, can't really tell without know what the content is though.

Re:Possibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455819)

I don't think that'll do much.

In fact, if he figures out a real answer to this he's going to make a trillion dollars selling the solution to countless personalities out there.

Murder (1, Insightful)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year ago | (#42455493)

Or counter-smear.

Re:Murder (5, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42456035)

Might I suggest hosting the site in third world country without diplomatic ties to the U.S. or any of the countries he lives (or has lived) in. Have the site host the most vile and disgusting human perversions... links to NAMBLA, Neo-Nazi Organizations, Satanic Churches, and perhaps Skat-Play with Enema Porn as a cherry on top. Attack all good and reputable organizations you can think of. In short, make it a festering sore on the ass of the universe. Have the site advertise in papers in his local town. Have a man with a thick accent, call him or email him with a demand for 10 $1,000 checks to close down the site (checks must have "Pay To" left blank.)

Fill checks out to grotesque organizations and institutions and make donations. Send Anonymous letters to local newspapers about the "Monster" living in our midst. When it comes out that he's only getting what he's giving... he'll be a social pariah. He started this, the best he can do is complain that he's getting better than he's giving. Make certain you appoint an MC and never contact them again. You know nothing about this, have nothing to do with this and don't care to be a part of the drama he's created. Of course this could easily escalate into death and dismemberment. Not to mention the bad karma.

A better ploy would be to Create a Nonprofit Organization for the protection of people from Stalkers, Abusers, and Infantile Ex's who seem to be unable to move on with their lives. Use his sites and his attacks as examples of the evil idiocy perpetrated by angry men with small penii, and explain that people being abused by the small minded and even smaller hearted need to stick together and expose the Bozo's publicly. Speak with your Senator about passing a law that prevents this kind of abuse in country and contact the nation he's in to inform them that he's using their infrastructure to perpetrate evil acts half way around the world. Take the high ground. Help people. Show him compassion he doesn't deserve. Send him pictures of you smiling and thank him for inspiring you to create an organization to help women being abused by Idiot Exs. Let him know he's made you a better person, stronger, happier. Thank him. It'll drive him crazy.

ICANN (2, Interesting)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year ago | (#42455511)

Copyright the name, contact ICANN and have the domains yanked.

Re:ICANN (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455577)

And remember ownership of .com sites is still under us jurisdiction, and .co.uk has probably the strictest libel laws outside of China or North Korea.

Re:ICANN (1, Flamebait)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year ago | (#42455601)

Copyright does not apply to names, corporate names, product names, or any other type of name. Learn the difference kid, because it makes you sound stupid.

Re:ICANN (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456075)

Learn the difference kid, because it makes you sound stupid.

Apparently both "stupid" people and arseholes (assholes for those from the USA) are allowed to comment on slashdot.

Call this reply whatever you like.

I'd argue he should wait (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#42456079)

My suggestion is to hold off until you've been married to her for a year or so - that way, you can better determine whether her ex-husband's statements are indeed a smear campaign or are rooted in fact.

Reputation.com? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455517)

These guys provide a service to clean up your reputation. They may have some good options.

Re:Reputation.com? (2)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year ago | (#42455535)

Eh..."reputation management" and SEO have basically been all but outlawed by Google. Just point a bunch of phpld directory links at his site with irrelivant keywords and descriptions...or submit a DMCA takedown request to the search engines.

Re:Reputation.com? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#42455903)

The Mafia (the Sicilian one, not the "MAFIAA") also provides a "clean-up" service that might be useful here....

Trademark violation (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455523)

... is the legal term you're looking for.

A trademark doesn't have to be registered. If she's been writing under her own name for years, then her name is a valuable piece of intellectual property and it's entitled to exactly the same protections as the name of 'Mickey Mouse'.

Of course, that means you need to act quickly before the trademark is considered to be officially diluted or worthless.

IANAL, TINLA etc.

Re:Trademark violation (2)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#42455879)

Anon cow may be right about TM violation.
Outside of that, there is only stooping to his level.
What country does he live in? In Mexico and S. American countries , a couple hundred U.S. dollars go a long way toward removing his hands to keep him from typing.
Do some of the old school hacks on him; call up and have his utilities shut off, use a remailing service to have him loudly proclaim anti-govenment sentiment or terrorist threats to his local newspapers. Have illicit internet recreational drug sites start sending him contraband. Make friends with "Anonymous", they specialize in dealing with asshats.
        OR just spend a lot of money and time doing things the "right" way with no guaranteed outcome. Let your wallet and your conscience fight it out over who will be your guide.
      Your wife, she has other skills if her ex buries her, right? Waiting tables, cleaning houses, etc....

Challenge the domain ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455547)

Trademark her name and submit an ownership transfer appeal to the domain authority.

Re:Challenge the domain ownership (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455585)

" This policy has now been replaced with a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy created by ICANN and used by all accredited registrars. Under this new policy, a trademark owner can initiate a relatively inexpensive administrative procedure to challenge the existing domain name. In order to prevail, the trademark owner must show:

        that the trademark owner owns a trademark (either registered or unregistered) that is the same or confusingly similar to the registered second level domain name;
        that the party that registered the domain name has no legitimate right or interest in the domain name; and
        that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith.

If the trademark owner successfully proves all three points in the administrative proceeding, then the domain name can either be cancelled or transferred to the prevailing trademark owner. If the trademark owner fails to prove one of these points, the administrative panel will not cancel nor transfer the domain name."

http://www.bitlaw.com/internet/domain.html

Re:Challenge the domain ownership (3, Informative)

jimshatt (1002452) | about a year ago | (#42455975)

that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith

The domain name seems to be registered in good faith. Depending on prenuptial agreements, she might have as much claim on the domain name as he has already. A divorce lawyer might be able to help you out (IANAL tho).

Same day repost (-1, Offtopic)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#42455549)

Slashdot just covered this topic here [slashdot.org].

No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455607)

That link is about folks who actually did those things and want to bury things that they think a future employer may find objectionable.

In this case, someone is making shit up and defaming someone.

The person asking this needs to have his wife sue. Do not pass go. Go directly to lawyer.

Re:No. (1)

znrt (2424692) | about a year ago | (#42455825)

That link is about folks who actually did those things and want to bury things that they think a future employer may find objectionable.
In this case, someone is making shit up and defaming someone.

that would be assuming both tell the truth, which is to assume a lot and anyway is irrelevant to the issue, which is the intent to influence public content.

the answer has already been given: seo hard and try to push the desired content up. i see no other way (that doesn't involve either courts or baseball bats)

Re:No. (3, Informative)

jb11 (2683015) | about a year ago | (#42456029)

That link is about folks who actually did those things and want to bury things that they think a future employer may find objectionable.

In this case, someone is making shit up and defaming someone.

The person asking this needs to have his wife sue. Do not pass go. Go directly to lawyer.

Actually, the example in the article is about a girl that had a common name that was returning search results that were not about her.

"From the article: "Samantha Grossman wasn't always thrilled with the impression that emerged when people Googled her name. 'It wasn't anything too horrible,' she said. 'I just have a common name. There would be pictures, college partying pictures, that weren't of me, things I wouldn't want associated with me.'"

IANAL (5, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | about a year ago | (#42455551)

And obviously neither is the OP: "He currently lives abroad and cannot be served with legal papers. His websites are hosted overseas as well, and do not respond to conventional letters or petitions. Because of his freedom of speech rights, few U.S. courts will assert that his websites are truly libelous, either,

For God's sake begin by hiring someone who actually knows about this stuff instead of relying on what you learned from daytime TV.

"Best community of geeks" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455553)

This isn't Reddit, man.

We are not your personal army. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455555)

Request denied.

Use the Chewbacca Defense (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#42455557)

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must shut down these websites!

Re:Use the Chewbacca Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455793)

When did Chewbacca live on Endor?

Re:Use the Chewbacca Defense (1)

witherstaff (713820) | about a year ago | (#42456043)

Maybe it's an old geek with memory probs? After all originally there were going to be Wookies on Endor but after rewrites the Ewoks showed up.

Re:Use the Chewbacca Defense (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#42455817)

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must shut down these websites!

I thought the Chewbacca Defense involved speaking loudly and unintelligibly until the other side gives up in frustration. It "works" for most politicians.

Re:Use the Chewbacca Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456045)

It works fairly well here on /. too.

Ever heard of free speech (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455559)

I think you answered your own post. You said the material is not libelous -- ie: it's true.

So let's rephrase your post with that in mind:

My fiancee's ex-husband posted a bunch of factually correct material about my fiancee. We haven't suffered any damages from it at all, and he's well within his rights to post the material. But I don't like what he's posted, and I don't like him. How can I get this guy to shut up and go away?

Well, here's some advice. You should STFU. If your fiancee doesn't like the information posted, then she should consider changing her behavior.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#42455697)

Actually, the submitter didn't say it was true. The submitter didn't even say it was not libel. The submitter said he didn't think a court would find it to be libel, based on "free speech rights".

This does not argue that the submitter has a nuanced-enough understanding of the law to justify trying to draw specific conclusions about what the facts are from his speculations as to what a court would rule.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455745)

It's either true or not. If it's not true, then it's libel. If it is true, then it is not libel, and is protected under the 1st amendment. There is none of this, "true but also libelous" bullshit you've made up. (At least not in the US where the poster is clearly from.)

Re:Ever heard of free speech (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about a year ago | (#42455823)

Ah, I see your mistake. You think that from IF A THEN B follows If B THEN A. Rookie logic mistake. Not to mention that something can be damaging to a reputation without being strictly false, through merely presenting an unsavory association that is difficult to prove to be incorrect.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455873)

Idiot.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455917)

It's either true or not. If it's not true, then it's libel. If it is true, then it is not libel, and is protected under the 1st amendment

"True" equals "not libelous". But "not libelous" does not automatically equal "true".

There is none of this, "true but also libelous" bullshit you've made up.

He didn't make that up. You did, as a strawman.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42456001)

If it's not true, then it's libel.

Well, no, being untrue is necessary but not sufficient for it to be found to be libel.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#42456003)

There's a gray area in between: what if the accusations are untrue, but you can't prove it?

Note, IANAL, so I don't know if a civil suit for libel would work out well if the accusations are all hearsay (e.g., "I heard that she has sex with her dog!"), but if the allegations are vague enough and difficult or impossible to disprove ("she told me that she's a pedophile", leading to a he-said-she-said argument with her claiming she never said any such thing), she may be in a difficult spot.

Any lawyers here with expertise in libel? Asking software and IT geeks seems like the worst place to find advice for this, this is definitely a question for a lawyer.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about a year ago | (#42455727)

I think you answered your own post. You said the material is not libelous -- ie: it's true.

Not libelous and false are not two sides of the same coin. You can't infer one from something not being the other. Example: site gets opened with the name of someone in the URL, and the site owner than proceeds to post timecube and NAMBLA articles. Not libel, but not fun either. Or, just reposts random porn to that site. Or of frat parties. Or posts about how great coke and pot are.

There are great ways to ruin reputations, none of which involve explicit falsehoods. Lets hope you never have to find out first-hand.

Re:Ever heard of free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455789)

All of your examples would qualify as libel. You are confusing truth with the legality of the material. If I say you're a huge slut, and you're not, that's libel. But there is nothing illegal about it. You are free to be a slut, if that's what you want to be.

Don't bother? (4, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | about a year ago | (#42455569)

She has a great industry reputation and everyone that knows her loves her.

That's what matters. Maybe she can trademark her name and seize the domain as being confusingly similar, but it's still throwing time and attention at somebody who clearly craves it, for dubious gain.

Re:Don't bother? (3, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year ago | (#42455691)

He said the material is not libelous. I'm allowed to start a domain called SheetrockIsATerriblePerson.com and post criticisms about you. That's not trademark infringement. You cannot use trademark law to silence critics.

Wal-mart tried this in 2008:
http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2008/court-rejects-wal-marts-bid-silence-criticism-through-trademark-law [citmedialaw.org]

Re:Don't bother? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#42456041)

Right, but on the other hand, you're not allowed to register the domain "walmart.com" (in a parallel universe where Walmart has, for some strange reason, not already registered this domain) and then post criticisms of it. With "walmart-sucks-and-i-hate-them.com", you're not posing as Walmart themselves, it's clear that you're a separate party that just doesn't like them.

even easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455591)

Have her legally change her name, unless it's part of her branding/ reputation then it should speak above and louder than the ex's libels. It's "easy" in comparison to your international feud. Of course, she'd still have to change her driver's license, bills, etc, and have a public notice about such change. So what I would do is pick a common name and attach an alias afterwards. It's all legal AFAIK, but IANAL.

Simple, stop being so fucking stupid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455605)

If you weren't so fucking stupid your imaginary wife wouldn't be in so much fucking trouble.

nuke him dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455611)

ask for a hacker to deface his misleading sites.... post urls on pastebin. and then just ask to the "Dark side".... rofl

try anti cybersquatting or defamation actions (2)

hguorbray (967940) | about a year ago | (#42455615)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting

http://blogs.lawyers.com/2012/11/internet-defamation-cybersquatting/

http://www.traverselegal.com/internet-defamation/defamation/what-is-a-defamation-of-character-assessment/#more-129

I'm sure that many laywers will do this for you for $$$, but it may also be possible to have the victim file under ACPA to force the domain names to be given to them
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/property00/domain/legislation.html

but that may only apply to trademark owners and not defamation victims.

-I'm just sayin'

Does he believe what he's saying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455627)

If he believes he's being righteous, you'll never stop him. This is a risk when you choose to interact with people. If he is just being a cock, then continually send him the same letter over and over explaining why. Eventually he'll realise it will be obvious to future partners that he is a cock and stop being a cock. If this is a reaction to pain he will stop it when the pain stops, which it might never do. People are complicated, there is no way to deterministically prevent them trying to attach bad things to another person's name.

Libel (1)

headhot (137860) | about a year ago | (#42455629)

Many countries like England have extremely strong libel laws. She should hire an english attorney and have him prosecuted in the UK. Its pretty much irrelevant to the UK system where the harm took place.

Re:Libel (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42455739)

Balls to that, you can deal with these squabbles yourselves!
Isn't that what Texas is for?

Re:Libel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456081)

Here in Texas, we will shoot your fucking computer. Then you. Then your dog. If you had any horses we will sell them to the Mexicans and they will eat them.

Libel tourism and the SPEECH Act (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42455961)

Many countries like England have extremely strong libel laws.

Are you recommending libel tourism [wikipedia.org]?

She should hire an english attorney and have him prosecuted in the UK.

Defamation judgments outside the United States that violate the First Amendment protection of freedom of expression are unenforceable in the United States. This became explicit in the third quarter of 2010 [wikipedia.org].

WHOIS (5, Informative)

yakatz (1176317) | about a year ago | (#42455631)

Check the WHOIS information for the domains. If there is any missing information at all or if the phone numbers or email addresses don't work, you can file a report with ICANN [internic.net]. I have found that many times people will not reply to the complaint which means the domains are shut down within a few weeks.

Re:WHOIS (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about a year ago | (#42455829)

I think you got lucky. Several years ago, I discovered that some jerk cloned one of my company's websites. I tried to contact the person through every piece of contact info in the WHOIS record (even sent a letter half way around the world and waited for it to bounce) and it was all bogus. I reported it to ICANN and the response I got after a long wait was something like "the registrar says the contact info is fine." Fortunately, the hosting company was much more responsive and made him change the site.

Hacks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455647)

Set up some zombies to DDOS him until he goes away.

You should also talk to a lawyer. Making assumptions about what the law will and won't say when there isn't a lawyer involved is prone to failure.

  If his websites are making revenue off your name you can sue him for trademark infringement.

Re:Hacks (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42455751)

Set up some zombies to DDOS him until he goes away.

You should also talk to a lawyer. Making assumptions about what the law will and won't say when there isn't a lawyer involved is prone to failure.

I think you have those two steps the wrong way round.

Change your name (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#42455657)

Maybe she should pick a new name, possibly a business name to work through and notify her current circle of contacts of the change.

Re:Change your name (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#42455741)

Maybe she should pick a new name, possibly a business name to work through and notify her current circle of contacts of the change.

The problem is every job application I have ever went through demands former names listed so they can do a credit and internet check on your name. She will still get blacklisted after the reporting agency mentions the other sites. They no longer just do criminal background checks anymore.

There are one or two sites where for a monthly fee an employer types a name and everything about you including lawsuits, blogs, facebook, myspace, livejournal, divorces, and loans pop up that employers use for hiring decisions.

Suing is bad too as HR feels you may sue them next if they have to fire you. They want a clean record for any position and it is insane as a simple suit agaisnt someone who wrongs you is now a liability.

Alert! Alert! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455667)

This sounds like a tactic to get you to set a date for the wedding... Being a woman, she would have already through of this as the easy out that once she get's married she'll likely change her last name which would help greatly with this issue. Given you haven't brought that up in your post, I'm guessing she hasn't mentioned it to you. This means that your wedding isn't any time in the near future or a date hasn't been set at all. So, I'm guessing you've proposed at some point but aren't commited enough to tie the knot. Once a big deal has been made of this situation, she will suddenly come up with the 'idea' that getting married will solve things, and the sooner the better.

I'm telling you this because you also need to keep an eye on things in the contraceptive department because if this little ruse doesn't work to get you to hitched, that will be next on the list.

Look, I know a lot of people here claim to know things they don't, but I am posting as Annonymous Coward because I don't have a slashdot account so you can trust that I know a lot more about women than most people her. Stay strong my brother.

Re:Alert! Alert! (1)

unami (1042872) | about a year ago | (#42455943)

nice line of thought - but if he's in that kind of (not telling each other the truth - not really talking to each other) relationship, he's either pretty stupid and probably deserves getting married to a psychopath or should get out of this relationship asap.

Re:Alert! Alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455971)

If she is a professional with a reputation then there is a good chance that she plans on keeping her name.

Thats becoming extremely common and is even more likely given that this will be her 2nd marriage.

Re:Alert! Alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456009)

It's not the morons posting that ruin slashdot, it's the fuckwits who mod them up.

Get a lawyer... (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#42455673)

Lawyers are much better than slashdot at telling you what your legal options might be.

Seriously, where do you get this stuff? There's not a lot of obvious overlap between libel law and free speech. At least in the US, the issues are whether material is (1) defamatory and (2) untrue. So far as I know, that's it; if the material's untrue, then saying false things about people is not generally regarded as "free speech". (Note: "untrue" means "provable as a matter of fact to be untrue", not just "I don't think it's true".)

Re:Get a lawyer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456063)

Hm...has no one stopped to wonder if the 'crazy ex' is right and accurate? Maybe its not libel because it is true...she just doesn't want everyone knowing about it.

Freedom of speech N/A (1)

atomican (2799855) | about a year ago | (#42455693)

Because of his freedom of speech rights, few U.S. courts will assert that his websites are truly libelous

Freedom of speech in the US seems to be continually misunderstood - it means you have the freedom to talk smack about the Government and they won't seek repercussions. No matter what you think about the state of the country, at least it's safer to criticize the Administration in the US than it would be in, say, Iran or North Korea or even China. And that's all because of freedom of speech.

This does NOT apply one bit to citizens having a go at one another, and if it can be shows that it's truly smear and there's nothing tangible to the accusations, then it can most definitely be treated as libelous and freedom of speech is irrelevant here. You can't just say whatever you like without there being consequences, particularly if you lie.

Re:Freedom of speech N/A (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#42455831)

This does NOT apply one bit to citizens having a go at one another, and if it can be shows that it's truly smear and there's nothing tangible to the accusations, then it can most definitely be treated as libelous and freedom of speech is irrelevant here. You can't just say whatever you like without there being consequences, particularly if you lie.

The problem is that if they live and/or host in a foreign country with a foreign domain, the legal options become more complicated, more expensive, and more difficult to enforce should you win. And even if you go through all the hassles and expenses and win to get journalistsnamesux.co.xx taken down, the whole thing can repeat itself in journalistnameblows.co.yy. It's a legal whack a mole and the only way to win is to get them to stop doing it.

Re:Freedom of speech N/A (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42456037)

Freedom of speech in the US seems to be continually misunderstood - it means you have the freedom to talk smack about the Government and they won't seek repercussions. No matter what you think about the state of the country, at least it's safer to criticize the Administration in the US than it would be in, say, Iran or North Korea or even China. And that's all because of freedom of speech. This does NOT apply one bit to citizens having a go at one another

Well, the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees, fairly consistently, with your position that Freedom of Speech does not apply to citizens statements directed at other citizens rather than at the government; so, to the extent that the idea that it does apply to these circumstances is a "misunderstanding", its one which is not merely widespread, but has the practical force of law.

She's swell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455721)

How many times have I read an opinion about an injustice on /. only to find out later it wasn't such an injustice? I notice OP didn't provide any URLs to let people make up their own minds.

Re:She's swell? (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#42455897)

How many times have I read an opinion about an injustice on /. only to find out later it wasn't such an injustice? I notice OP didn't provide any URLs to let people make up their own minds.

Good point! How do we know his fiancée isn't Sarah Palin? If she is, the OP should be aware that Amazon is not a reference to Caribou Barbie, and those negative reviews are not a smear campaign, they're the opinions of people who don't know her personally but read her book and didn't like it.

UDRP (1)

walmass (67905) | about a year ago | (#42455777)

You can easily get the domain name that matches her name.

1. Have her trademark it
2. File a UDRP [icann.org]


For the rest, SEO.

BTW, you are not the crazy ex trying to figure out how she can take away your cyber-stalking, right?

why turn to geeks (1)

mxolisi06 (1009567) | about a year ago | (#42455791)

Why turn to us geeks? So that some of us could arrange somehow to get his websites down? I'd rather turn to a PR community if I were you, or a lawyer community (perhaps lawyers in the country of residence of the ex-husband)

It's not really free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455801)

There are at least 4 types of speech which are not protected by first amendment (though other laws may allow it, it's not free speech if it's):
1. libel and slander
2. hate speech (including speech which incites a riot)
3. fighting words
4. student speech
So, you may still have a case if it can be considered Libelous.

Explain the situation to the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455809)

If nothing can be done to take down those websites create another one, or a page on her professional site, explaining the situation in detail, linking to the offending sites to allow people to see for herself, and add the progress of handling it. I have seen a few sites in the past of people defending themselfves against libel that impressed me because they exposed the lies in a reasonal way, and gave the impression the one defending him- or herself was not only on top of but above the situation, the defence was much more credible than the libel just by being factual and balanced, and not coming across as angry or vengeful.

Fight fire with fire (1)

br00tus (528477) | about a year ago | (#42455859)

Using Bing, Google etc., there are about eight web pages or so that I would not want out there. Oddly enough, the origin of those web pages were back in 1989 when I gave my name and phone # to some local BBSs. BBSs and IRC channels I stopped talking on about 17 years ago. For whatever reasons, these things float back up. They're not all bad, I'd just rather they not be around.

A solution - on Google a search for my name, first page is my Github, my Twitter, my Stack Overflow, my Facebook (which is fairly employer-scrubbed). Also some other people with my name, ancestral records of people with the same name etc. The following pages are more of the same - me talking on technical mailing lists etc.

Have them get their name out there in a positive way. Nothing negative about me is on the first 100 searches for my name. It is mostly me on various technical web sites, mailing lists etc.

Lawyers chime in SVP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455885)

Would not equitable tolling come into play?

Don't be a White Knight here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42455951)

How do you know that these aren't really her writings and that she's not just hiding the crazy from you?

Praise campaign + legal action (5, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42455953)

I've been through this myself...

As a temporary action, get the word out -- literally. Build a site or two of your own on her if needed, e.g, her official site, then get in touch with her fans, list, the press, whatever, and serve them a sensationalist "writer gets libeled online by her ex" story... If they bite, the site with her name in the domain won't get to Google's first page of results with a little luck. Even if it does, the many results that mention the smear campaign on the same page will serve as a counterweight and douse it.

In my case, that was enough to get the domain. In case it's not enough for you to do the same, sue...

Sue the ex-husband for libel, defamation, whatever... but also -- and more importantly -- to recover the domain name. If it's a .com or any other US tld, it's under US jurisdiction and can be seized by a US court; period, end of story -- irrespective of where the ex-boyfriend might be based or hosted. If the MAFIAA can shut down .com domains that serve torrents, and big business can grab domains on grounds that they're too similar to their own, you can shut down or retrieve a domain. Her name is her de facto trademark. Don't just sue the ex-boyfriend, either. Also file complaints with the registrar, the hosting business, etc. They'll take pre-emptive action more often than not when contacted. Consult with an attorney specialized in this kind of stuff, and take action under his guidance.

Sue him in the UK (1)

ivi (126837) | about a year ago | (#42455989)

The UK is reputed to be the best venue to sue -from- (if you can afford the legal fees).

Others may be able to share their success stories...

Sounds like you have a winner there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456007)

Clearly she pissed someone off badly. Are you sure this is without merit?

internet smear campaigns are bad but...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42456083)

Thats nothing i used to work really hard for this company called monitise in the uk and whilst i worked hard and did my job properly one of the idiots who took a large dislike to me went around on a smear campaign in the industry i worked in isn't funny how men treat women in IT.

So now i can no longer get a job in the career i built because of that individuals campaign of hate my heart goes out to you!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...