Suing For Libel Isn't Always The Right Decision

from the what-do-you-accomplish? dept

We've discussed repeatedly the so-called Streisand Effect, which suggests that just because you can sue over something, it doesn't mean it's the right decision. In many cases, lawyers get an itchy trigger finger, believing that suing over something they don't like, will make it disappear. However, instead, by filing the lawsuit they turn it into news, and suddenly what they wanted to disappear becomes much more widely known. The latest company to discover this may be networking firm Juniper. They were apparently so upset by some random messages on Light Reading's message board that they've filed lawsuits against 10 unidentified users who posted disparaging remarks concerning the company. Not to knock Light Reading -- which is a fantastic resource for telecom news, by the way -- but it's quite unlikely that any random message board postings on Light Reading are taken seriously enough to really matter. The audience isn't tremendous, and most readers there probably know enough to recognize that a random anonymous posting is, well, less than trustworthy. In fact, Light Reading removed the comments soon after they were posted for violating forum rules. So, until now, almost no one even knew about these postings that called the company unethical and accused execs of various scamming activities. However, now that the story is news -- a lot more people are hearing about the accusations, whether or not they're true. In posting about the lawsuits, Light Reading itself quotes a lawyer who points out that these moves "say as much about the company suing as it does about the message board users."


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