Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
criticism, libel, reviews



Reminder: It's Still Not Illegal For Someone To Criticize You

from the but-it-won't-stop-the-lawsuits dept

We've written about similar stories plenty of times in the past, but Adam writes in to let us know about a new article highlighting companies who sue those who leave negative reviews of their business online. The businesses complain that the negative reviews can have a serious impact on business -- which no one doubts. But, assuming that the review is truthful or just an opinion, there's really not much that can be done about it. Most companies would be better served responding to the criticism, rather than busting out the lawyers. Even if they feel the criticism is unjustified, it makes more sense to address the points, rather than pulling out the blunt threat of a lawsuit.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2008 @ 11:27pm

    Hmm.
    Double negative use there in your title, Mike?

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

    • identicon
      mike allen, 13 Nov 2008 @ 3:19am

      Re:

      Any one with a brain can make sence of it therefore you have no brain. BTW most come here to be informed not grammar lessons.

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

    • identicon
      Greg, 13 Nov 2008 @ 5:38am

      Re: double negative

      What double negative? The title is just fine.
      If you're referring to "...not illegal...," that's not a double negative, but I guess you would have preferred "It's Still Legal For Someoen To Criticize You."

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

    • identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 13 Nov 2008 @ 3:54pm

      We Don't Need No Double Negatives

      Double negative use there in your title, Mike?

      It's an application of "litotes", of which it appears you are not unignorant.

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

  • identicon
    Quantity Surveyor Man, 13 Nov 2008 @ 12:21am

    Love it

    Its such fun living in these days of corporate repression. Who needs a dictatorship when a company can whip you down for sedition?

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

  • identicon
    mart, 13 Nov 2008 @ 1:13am

    I agree

    Techdirt is a crap blog for using a double negative.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 1:44am

      Re: I agree

      It's interesting to see your positive quality, Mart. Or do you prefer lowercase?
      (ahem) mart. There, better?

      When you grow up and have something productive to add, let us know. Perhaps this will be after January 21st you can be "Mart".

      Jerk

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

  • identicon
    mike allen, 13 Nov 2008 @ 3:21am

    tell the lawyers

    to stick their suit and never pay a penny or remove anything.

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

  • identicon
    Twinrova, 13 Nov 2008 @ 4:05am

    Now we "reap the rewards" of bad parenting decades ago.

    Anyone remember the transition from parents being allowed to spank their children vs. the "oh, we just punish without spanking"?

    Well, now you can see the outcome. These "emo equipped" CEOs (and other top dogs) obviously can't handle constructive criticism because they were never brought up to deal with it properly.

    Spare the rod. Spoil the child.

    It's amazing how many times congress keeps removing the rods needed to punish offenders.

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

  • identicon
    Shay, 13 Nov 2008 @ 4:43am

    Don't take resonsibility - blame your parents!!

    How does spanking help a child learn to deal with constructive criticism - or when they become an adult for that matter? Maybe it's those spanked kids who didn't learn how to deal with their feelings are the problem - it's easier to just hit people [with stupid lawsuits or a rod] instead of fixing the problem.

    Decades ago, even thinking of suing for any of these reasons would have been laughed at now one can sue for just about anything. I bet that has nothing to do with spanking and if it does I'm sure those CEOs would be suing their parents for either spanking or not if they thought it would remove them from taking responsibility.

    Or maybe we should blame the government since so many seem to want them to parent us....

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

  • identicon
    Nick, 13 Nov 2008 @ 5:39am

    Amen!

    If you get negative criticism, how about you use that criticism to improve? Let's not run to the courts and yell "There picking on me!".

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

  • identicon
    13 years olds are stupid, 13 Nov 2008 @ 6:10am

    What about slander? What about false claims? I guess those two are covered under the 1st Amendment. Or not. Whatever wikipedia tells you to believe right, Mike?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      Slander (or libel) are essentially false claims and are therefore fraud. Criticism is not a false claim.

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

      • identicon
        nasch, 13 Nov 2008 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re:

        Slander and libel are not fraud, they're slander and libel. And to the GP, no they are not protected by the 1st Amendment, but it can be tricky to prove them. Which is appropriate - better to have a little too much freedom of expression than not enough.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 11:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Legally they are not tried as fraud, but they are essentially fraud. Slander and libel contain fraudulent statements, hence they are fraud.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      Whatever wikipedia tells you to believe right, Mike?

      Don't knock Wikipedia. Wikipedia generally has good data. But every once in a while you run into something that makes you scratch your head. You know, the cleverly hidden sentence that reads "so-and-so is a X". It's always a good laugh whenever you're graced with such things.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 13 Nov 2008 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      What about slander? What about false claims?

      Those would be slander or libel. But that's not what we're discussing. We're discussing criticism.

      I find it odd that you criticize me for not understanding the issue, when it would appear to be you who did not understand it.

      Does that mean I should sue you? After all, according to you, "criticism" can be slander or libel -- and you are lying in your claims about what I said.

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

  • identicon
    Michial, 13 Nov 2008 @ 6:23am

    It can be a fine line

    It can be a fine line between Defamation and Criticizm....

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 6:26am

    Double negatives

    The only time I have issues with double negatives is when reading dry sarcasm in an otherwise factual read. It's hard to tell if they're making a statement or joking. But ever since about1st grade, I skimmed over double negatives and I read the context not the individual words.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 6:46am

    Whenever my kid acts up, like wants ice cream or wants to go to the bathroom more often than twice a day, I beat the hell out of her. She will grow up to be a fine CEO.

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

  • identicon
    Chris in Utah, 13 Nov 2008 @ 8:35am

    In other related news.

    Yes men at it again. This time a year in the making and a message of hope. The numbers have yet to come in on how many of these papers were distributed on the streets of New York. But the message is clear and hopeful but I despise sitting and waiting for ass to get out of office.
    Here's the copy of The New York Times Special Edition. My guess is you'll be engrossed for an hour. http://www.nytimes-se.com

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

  • identicon
    Anon2, 13 Nov 2008 @ 12:36pm

    not fraud

    Um, no, actually slander and libel do not necessarily contain fraudulent statements, they contain false statements. There is a difference. Fraud and fraudulent statements are falsities (or intentional omissions of material fact) intended to induce someone else to do or not do something. Slander and libel are falsities intended merely to create a false and negative impression of someone in other peoples' minds, but are not necessarily intended to induce anyone to do or refrain from doing anything at all.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2008 @ 2:32pm

      Re: not fraud

      In creating a false and negative impression of someone through libel or slander you are trying to induce them into doing or not doing something. You are trying to get them to believe or not believe something about a person. It's the excessive wordplay that causes so much trouble in the courts.

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

  • identicon
    John Wolosz, 11 Apr 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Lets bring back the SS and Gestapo

    Hey those companies who cannot take a little fair
    criticism and brings out lawyers to quash criticism
    should be given the "SS" "Gestapo" award of the year.

    Just think.. what is next.. book burings outside
    corporate offices of articles that are not nice
    to them.

    Sieg Hiel !

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


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