Blum Law Firm | Defamation and First Amendment Litigation | New York
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Defamation & First Amendment Rights

Defamation

Online defamation, whether libel or slander, must be addressed with immediate, aggressive action. When a business, professional or individual becomes the target of an online defamatory statement, fight back by having the information removed both from the website and the search engine cache. A defamation lawsuit may also be filed.

With the advent of the Internet, news that once took days to circulate now spreads and multiplies within seconds. Comments that once might have been made in person between friends, on the phone or in the newspaper are now posted on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, and other social media sites for all the world to see.

Blum Law Firm pursues claims against those who use the Internet to make defamatory, false or unjust claims against others. To find out more about our Internet defamation law practice, contact us.

What Are Online Defamation, Internet Libel and Internet Slander?

Defamation is the broadest of the three terms, encompassing both libel and slander. It refers to the act of holding a person up to ridicule, scorn or contempt. Malicious, false or unjust statements, whether written or spoken, tend to injure the reputation of the person being falsely accused or ridiculed.

Libel is a form of defamation in which the communication is made by means of print, writing, pictures or signs. In other words, libel is written defamation.

Slander is a form of defamation in which a false and malicious statement is made verbally.

As the Internet increases in popularity, blogs, YouTube, social media sites and other websites have become a haven for online defamation. The posting of such material on Internet “gripe sites” can inflict far-reaching and permanent damage:

  • A business that is the target of defamation by a former worker or unhappy customer may lose revenue and could ultimately be forced out of business.
  • A professional such as a doctor, lawyer, dentist or accountant may lose clients as a result of malicious accusations.
  • An individual may be targeted for harassment by a cyber bully.

Legal Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation and Fight Internet Defamation, Libel and Slander

When a business, professional or individual becomes the target of an online defamatory statement, the first step in fighting back is having the information removed both from the website and the search engine cache. A defamation lawsuit may also be filed against the individual making the statement.

First Amendment Rights

The right to free speech is protected by the First Amendment and commenting on matters of public concern is an important part of a democracy. But sometimes that right can come under attack. Whether you’re a concerned citizen, blogger, anonymous online commenter or Internet service, you deserve to have your First Amendment rights protected.

The First Amendment and state law protect the right to free speech, or put another way, it protects each person’s right to hear ideas and expressions, regardless of whether the ideas or expressions are popular. Although Americans are guaranteed the right to speak out, sometimes a person who exercises these First Amendment rights is hit with a lawsuit aimed at chilling that speech.

The Blum Law Firm represents individuals such as online bloggers and anonymous comment posters who have been sued or threatened with a lawsuit for exercising their First Amendment rights.

To learn more about how you can protect your free speech rights and defend yourself against such lawsuits, contact us.

Protecting Anonymous Internet Speakers and Internet Service Providers

Companies and individuals who have been the subject of online anonymous criticism may try to discover the identity of the commenter. Blum Law Firm protects the anonymity of Internet speakers.

The standard for permitting a litigant to find out the identity of an online anonymous critic varies by state. Before an identity is revealed, the plaintiff may need to:

  • Outline the allegedly defamatory statement.
  • Set forth a prima facie cause of action against the defendant.
  • Show an entitlement to disclosure of the identity by attempting to notify the anonymous defendant and allow a reasonable time to respond.

The target of online critics may also try to hold the Internet service provider responsible for the statements. However, ISPs are generally immune from liability for third-party statements under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The Blum Law Firm is an experienced and aggressive Internet litigation firm who helps preserve reputations and protect free speech. To learn more, contact the Blum Law Firm by calling 212-920-5858 or by filling out the online contact form.

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Whether a legal dispute is in an early stage, in litigation, or in the post-trial phase, the Blum Law Firm offers fresh and innovative approaches to help clients find solutions to their legal problems.

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