Shouldn't Lawyers Understand Online Liability?

from the another-one-of-these dept

Once review sites started popping up that allowed people to review former dating partners, it was only a matter of time before someone filed a lawsuit arguing that their reputation was ruined. That's exactly what a Pittsburgh lawyer has done (via Broadband Reports), claiming that a review on dontdatehimgirl.com maliciously identified him as a womanizer with STDs. The company claims it can't be held liable, based on the same laws protecting other online boards of user-submitted content. Practically, to require the site operator to monitor the veracity of everything posted would create an impossible burden. Still, just because the law gives these sites a pass, it doesn't mean that character defamation and vigilantism aren't a problem online. It's just that his complaint should be with the woman, not the site itself.

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  • icon
    Aaron deOliveira (profile), 30 Jun 2006 @ 11:49am

    one thing i've always wondered about these sites is what percentage of your available dating popluation is indexed on these sites. just for fun, i've looked for ex-s on these sites and haven't found a single one of them.

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  • identicon
    NSMike, 30 Jun 2006 @ 12:27pm

    I don't know...

    I don't know about this. There's a difference between a site putting up objective news stories and a user posting a libelous comment, and a site encouraging users to post the down and dirty details about someone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2006 @ 12:34pm

    He's a lawyer

    so he's a liar. Nothing new there. Of course he's "hurt" that his name is on the site. Don't you think that maybe he really earned his position there? I don't doubt it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2006 @ 1:05pm

      Re: He's a lawyer

      *smirk* That's good.

      Did you know that we're all born with tails and that the doctor's pull them off when we're born?

      Just because someone posts something on the Internet doesn't make it true. Good grief. I bet you're one of those people who thinks we should all be guilty until proven innocent too, aren't ya!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whocares, 30 Jun 2006 @ 12:40pm

    I don't see how he can win this suit. He's a lawyer, he lies for a living....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wintermute, 30 Jun 2006 @ 12:50pm

    I'm a huge free-speech advocate, and I'd normally side with the site, saying that the women who posted the untrue information are at fault. But I sorta see the lawyer's point on this, because the site seems specifically designed to ruin the reputations of the men that these women anonymously profile. Personally, I'd have filed a "Jane Doe" lawsuit against anyone who made anonymous comments that were libelous, and subpoena the site's records to go after the perpetrator(s). But like I said, the site (in this specific case) doesn't appear to be entirely innocent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jeff, 30 Jun 2006 @ 12:59pm

    i, for one

    certainly hope the issue of wether or not he has any STDs comes up in court. if he's infected with anything contageous or transmissable, then hoorah for letting people know. if he doesn't, whoever posted the shit should be fined. simple enough. the site itself, imo, WOULD be a great idea if there were any sort of verification done on the stories submitted by angry women. keep in mind that that's what you're dealing with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JM, 30 Jun 2006 @ 1:21pm

      Re: i, for one

      In a court of law I don't see whether or not he has STD's as being relevant. Lot's of people have STD's and are respectable people who don't hurt anyone. It would be a sad day when a court of law would allow someone to point to any individual, state a truth about their human existence and then tack on all sorts of crap just to hurt them and get away with it. Just because this guy may or may not have an STD is not at issue here. What IS at issue is a site that is encouraging people to make defaming comments about other individuals - there is a law called defamation of character and it exists for good reason. If this guy did something illegal to this woman then she should file a suit against him. If she wins, she can post it all over the Internet without complaint (it would be a matter of public record). However, anyone running their mouth off about somebody and making character-damaging claims about them to a mass-audience (in this case a global one) is breaking the law. I must agree that in this case, a site which encourages such behavior should be held liable as well. If they didn't encourage it then his suit could only be held against the individual making the character-damaging comments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Joe Baker, 30 Jun 2006 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: i, for one

        The issue of the STDs lies in the fact that she claims that he is infected. It is much easier to objectively test if he is healthy in that regard than if he is a womanizer or not. If the tests turn up negative, the woman is clearly a liar and that's where defamation of character comes in.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 30 Jun 2006 @ 1:30pm

    What I would like to see is...

    what would happen if some heartbroken guys got together and started a site called dontdateherdude.com. and frankly i have to say shame on some girl that gets mad at a guy and goes on one of these sites just make him look bad. i wonder how many of those posts are made by girls that were mad becuase their guy broke up with them for a good reason. there is no way to tell if the stuff on those sites is true. i sincerly wish there was a way to get rid of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Emceay, 30 Jun 2006 @ 1:40pm

    Hey! Lets all live in hell together.

    I like how the site is aimed at fat girls looking for nice guys and the girls too dumb to realize that the men they attract are snakes. Always asking why good men are so hard to find and never looking at oneself, and the actions that might drive the good ones away. Posting nothing but their own hurt and disdain while passing it off as "for the greater good"
    My ass... they just want revenge by mudslinging anonymously. Bad relationships take two to tango. These sites are crafted to bring the loser out of everyone.
    And the media wonders why marriages are failing and kids are marrying later.
    Lets all live in hell together, we've already started on the right foot.

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  • identicon
    STJ, 30 Jun 2006 @ 1:54pm

    real life

    Let's ask the question, what would happen if this happened in real life. I take an ad out in saying xxx is a bad kisser, has STD's stalker, blah, blah, blah. If xxx files a lawsuit, do they file against the or me?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2006 @ 2:09pm

    Anonymous Coward says:

    It's difficult to take out an ad without leaving some sort of paper trail. The website in question shields defamers with anonymity. But isn't that what the internet is for? anonymous flaming? Well, usually it's alright because people in forums use aliases like "Anonymous Coward". However, this site says "John Doe, who lives right down the street from you, has a small penis, STDs and cries after sex" With little or no proof other than hearsay. It sounds like defamation to me. Now c'mon, if you can get sued for libel for saying "Mr. X sucks a mean cock and that's how he gets ahead in business" Then what makes this website any different except folks not posting their name?

    What's worse is that this site makes it seem like it's a fantastic community service that's elevating humankind.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2006 @ 2:10pm

    Its one thing to say someone is a jerk and a lousy lay, those are protected speach=Opinion.

    It is quite another to assert someone has a transmitible disease. That is an asertion of fact that could certainly be slanderous.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2006 @ 2:15pm

    Anonymous Coward Unsays:

    Oh wait, they use the word 'allegedly'. Nevermind I retract my statement. No one ever got in trouble for saying Nixon was allegedly involved in watergate. Remember that little turd on Leno? "allegedly, allegedly!" You can circumvent any defamation suit with just one adverb.

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  • identicon
    BIAS!!!!, 30 Jun 2006 @ 3:03pm

    Anti_Joe

    Joe .. You did not mention that the lawer was suing people who posted the message too. Thats what it says in the article. Preseting the story like this (ommiting certain facts) you make it seem like the guy is very DUMB and does not know better. People who post responses never care to read the article either.

    I bet you do it on purpose to direct the discussion is a certain way. I bet it must be fun reading posts later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike Mixer, 30 Jun 2006 @ 4:53pm

    I don't get this

    Even if the site were to be held liable they are the defendant. They are innocent untill proven guilty.
    The plaintiff therefore must prove he isn't a disease ridden man whore or did I miss something

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Adam, 30 Jun 2006 @ 8:45pm

      Re: I don't get this

      Not in a civil case. He (the lawyer) just needs a majority decision that says it's more likely that the women are whiny bitches than it is that he's a disease ridden man whore. Innocent until proven guilty and reasonable doubt are for criminal cases.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steven Collons, 3 Jul 2006 @ 11:04am

    On line Slander

    I have been slandered on the web by third party hear say. This has had political impact that has effected my life. I am not Happy with it.
    True there is no way to prevent Freedom of speech on the web as everyone's entitled to there own opinion. As seen in the US constitution this serves both governing power & people to prevent pressure's & allows for ajustments between both parties to try to premote harmony.
    As we do in the Library; Mabey, Laybel category's in of info in some form that's less likey for misinterpretation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Raiden Gauld, 3 Jul 2006 @ 11:35am

    An even more important question...

    An even more important question is "Who would take the time to post someone's name up unless they themselves are undateable?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Jackson, 6 Oct 2006 @ 6:24pm

    The truth about Tasha Joseph

    My name is John L. Jackson III. I was in an intimate yet tumultuous relationship with Tasha Cavelle Joseph creator of the website for over twelve years. Given that my name has already been drawn out into the public fray I will entertain the possibility of coming forward with any and all information regarding our relationship. Evidence will be substantiated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thomas, 19 Oct 2006 @ 9:19am

    Speaking of people "allegedly" spreading STD's

    There is a new web site out the called www.yougavgemeanstd.com where people can tell others of past sexual encounteres where their partners weren't exactly honest with them.
    People do this all the time, they know they have some STD and go on in life with out telling the partner they are involved with. Its not fair to the victim who recieved the disease so why would you care if someone exposed this "alleged" infector. If done properly this is the type of site that will help inform our society of the pit falls of having unprotected sex with random people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Free Speech in America, 30 Oct 2006 @ 7:42am

    Let's see...

    Let's see... is this the same John L. Jackson that is attempting to sell information about his relationship with Tasha Joseph, creator of DontDateHimGirl.com, was arrested 3 times in the 90's for domestic violence against her. The Clerk of Court records in Miami tell the story of what kind of person he is. He tried to accuse her of a crime she didn't commit when they were together. It was later determined by the State Attorney's Office that he committed the crime. He's also been convicted of numerous other crimes involving drug possession. He's a lowlife who is so desperate for money that he is now attempting to sell information about his relationship with Tasha to anyone who will listen. Obviously, no one's listening, except maybe fellow lowlife Todd Hollis! John and his brother Edward Chambers, a law school graduate who couldn't pass the bar so he had to volunteer his services on Craig's List, are like the boys from the movie Dumb and Dumber! Well, it's the same thing that happens to all celebs. Look at the photographer who tried to extort money from Cameron Diaz over nude photos he took of her. Cameron stood up for herself and fought back and the photographer is now serving three years in jail!

    Women need to wake up and realize that men like John L. Jackson are predators and if a successful woman like Tasha can be a victim, any woman can. Don't fall victim to these men, ladies! There are good guys without lengthy criminal records out there who are honest, successful and drug-free!

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  • identicon
    Free Speech Tasha Joseph Style, 13 Nov 2006 @ 11:55pm

    Tasha Joseph Doesn't Know Free Speech

    Tasha Joseph may fool a few while she runs around posting anonymously and touting free speech, but the fact is the only free speech she accepts on her own site is that which caters to her twisted notions. That site of hers isn't about free speech at all. If fact she kicks people off her site when they take issue with her slanted premise. She professes that she is doing a service while possessing virtually no professional qualifications to deal with womens issues. IN fact, she has her own issues.

    She goes on national television to tell the world she doesn't edit items on her site. Yet has done just that. She has used fake accounts to attack those in her forums who might not accept that men posted in her site profiles may not be guilty of anything. She has called posted men cheaters even though she has no first hand knowledge of the facts. She has attacked those who defend specific men against what is posted in her site profiles. This isn't simply a site for others to post. This is a site where lies, rumors and attacks on men are taken as fact, defended and contributed to by Tasha herself. Men are slandered and lied about while Tasha Joseph profits. If she really cared about women who are hurting then why not volunteer with professional organizations that really do help woman rather than making money promoting lies?

    Now we see a post where those who may well be able to expose her are attacked. Well, where are the case numbers? Where is information that would allow someone seeking the truth to validate these accusations? Who are the detectives who have and do all these investigations?

    If Tasha Joseph is so innocent why did she file an expungency? Was she working on a Top Secret clearance? I seriously doubt it. Fact is she tried to bury her past because she didn't want people to know about it.

    What is the additional smokescreen about some photographer who has nothing to do with Tasha Joseph, Jackson or any of the other in this list of characters? This has nothing to do with anything, except clouding facts.

    This post just smells of the kinds of garbage posted on the dontdatehimgirl website. Provide some substantiation for your garbage or take it over to dontadatehimgirl where man bashing is a way of life. What a joke.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2009 @ 10:28am

    Well there's a big difference between free speech and soiling someones reputation. Even if he did have an STD it's a private matter that deals with his health and shouldn't be broadcast all over the world. I can imagine why both parties are pissed but this should stay a private matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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