Is The $11 Million Online Defamation Judgment A Big Deal?
from the questions,-questions dept
Lots of folks are submitting the USA Today story about a woman who successfully sued an online critic for $11 million for defamation. There seems to be some concern that this is a big statement limiting what people can say online, but that’s not clear at all. Defamation is defamation, online or not. And, if you’re going to accuse someone of being a “con artist” and a “fraud,” you should probably have some evidence to back that up. Now, it’s completely possible that the accused can back that up — but it’s worth pointing out that she didn’t show up at court to defend herself. She claims she can’t afford a lawyer, and didn’t even know the court date of the case because the info was sent to her address in New Orleans — which she had abandoned for a few months following Hurricane Katrina. So, the case really doesn’t say much about online speech or defamation, since there really was no defense at all.