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public defamation

  1. does anyone know, what can i do, if someone abuses his blog for an public defamation of my person with private details? after european law, that's a criminal act.

    who can i contact for this concern?

    the support does not give a reaction and a phonecall to the automattic-headquarter isn't possible outside the USA.

    i hope someone can give me a good advise.

    thanks.

  2. If you have a defamation case, contact a lawyer. It's a matter between you and the blogger in question. If it is a WP.com blog, then according to the ToS it is governed by US law; the posts may also be governed under the laws of another country, depending on where the blogger is. But if you're serious, a lawyer is where you should be getting your advice, not a public forum.

  3. Hi, Rasumichin83!

    Legally speaking, in real, defamation act is not really applicable on blogging, forums and online, especially blogging. Of course, unless you have declared your blog and in the nature of it to hold sufficient credibility amounting to a an injuria that is valid.

    The nature of a blog is self-explanatory. In short: if someone doesn't like you, his mind or brain just 'dislike you', hence the expression and his 'fair and honest personal view' on you. Got it? He or she puts that down in his online diary or offline diary, the laws cannot be applied to 'change his taste and views' on you, because it is supposed to be you who shall do the reasonable things to handle his/her distaste.

    The laws only comes in in certain points. For instance, if Raincoaster declared her blog not of the usual blogging but as a credible online journal or newspaper, as you have to be responsible to be credible that people should see it as an official view to be an offence. Even that, a view is only an offence if it is (pls read some recent comments in my blog which are attacking for attack's sake by same pple who generate different IDs for this purpose. Which is malicious and an offence.) malicious.

    A tort cannot be valid when there is no valid mens rea.

    Actually, what I said here is rather general, and by left, many substandard judges all over the world are still blur with online situations.

    So would you care to elaborate the case here? Thank you!

    BTW, hence, you shouldn't get the courts to 'change' the opinions of others. This is not the job of the justice system. Courts are not PR units, and you'd be considered wasting court resources. Lol.

    Remember this: What is in virtual reality, keep it virtual or within virtual reality.

    Scope.

  4. That's good advice!

  5. Hi, Raincoaster!

    That's sweet. :)

    Scope.

  6. As soon as I can post on my blog again, you're going to be quote of the day. I've encountered so many people this week who would do well to read that comment.

  7. Hi there!

    But what happens to your blog?

    Defamation is a very specialised tort. Same as copyright. Many feel 'hurted' and think that if they have the resources, they can just attack using lawyers. As I have mentioned, justice system has two sides. When you attack, you never know that the other party who knows the law is just drawing you in so that he/she can counter-sue you. Counter-sue usually has very high success rate and damage is almost certain.

    Internationally, since blogging such as with WordPress as host is international in concern, many cultures come together. Not to say even within a same state that people are different and they fight, hence internationally, when 2 people even in the case they exist in the same state appeal to the world's attention by blogging, by this alone--> No one state can claim justice on such 2 people. Basically because no one state can claim they own any part of cyberspace. It is the same that some in China and even in USA are selling parts of the moon...

    Well, USA has landed on the moon, with a flag somemore. But that doesn't mean the separated USSR and China own or don't own the moon. The moon is physical, but the concept is the same. Just because you can see the moon, doesn't mean you can sell it or hold it legally in concern behind the sales. Hence, it applies for the case of cyberspace. Cyberspace is not even physical.

    While our blogs are indeed hosted by WordPress, a USA legal entity, but we may all be from other states, and our blog doesn't necessarily belongs to WordPress. WordPress is merely a host or a platform. The CGPs and articles or diaries actually can be hosted elsewhere as well.

    Many people, especially the rich, are making the courts their PR or Customer Service department. By right it shouldn't be. By left... It all depends on how crappy is the justice system in the various states. Normally, such defamation cases are only admitted by crappy courts whose judges can't even understand beyond their tertiary education and within their narrow environment. Normally, no courts with some salt will waste time on such clear-cut cases.

    If that person doesn't like you, sue him he also doesn't like you: Love can't be ordered. Is that the courts' problem? Lol.

    More so on blogging. It's basically nosensically that if you don't like Paris Hilton and you think she is such a bitch, and you put that in your online diary and Paris go to court on that. Why? You mean the court can order you to love Paris and you must sing praises?

    Ridiculous.

    Actually, by the nature of blogging, you don't need to put down that: This is private opinion or views, or stories and such and such. When you wrote a diary, and your mum peeps it or you lost it in the school and people read that... do you,rationally speaking put disclaimer in the diary? Nosense.

    In defamation case, 'Rational' is a keyword. And it applies not only the wordings, but the situations. In blogging or online diary unless you declare otherwise, by the rationale of the nature, it's always this principle: Love cannot be ordered.

    It's irrational to expect the court to make people love you so that you don't feel hurt.

    Here's using one extremist example to illustrate a concept.

    Suppose Mark and Matt woo a girl, the girl rejects Mark and take Matt. Can Mark sue on innuendo claiming that the girl's action is purely to disgrace or insult or attack his pride in malicious concern?

    Don't laugh. This is possible if courts are crazy and crappy enough to admit such cases.

    So on legal issues, I always almost certainly put this: By right and by left.

    We all have seen how kangaroo court happenings in Malaysia. It's possible. Justice should not be taken for granted. So the quality of the governments is important.

    As for Rasumichin83's case, we will need to understand the whole picture. Defamation is a tort, it, and even copyright, is considered on a case by case basic. But 'case by case' also depends on the quality of the government. Read my recent article on my brush with the police, and why I am so upset.

    It is most probably not a criminal act, I guess. ;)

    This is personal opinion, hopefully it does help the community in future considerations on such happenings.

    Scope.

  8. Oh, come on! Who would pick Matt over Mark!

  9. What a cute reply. :D

    Matt looks cute, btw. Why not? ;)
    Me kidding. Hopefully, they don't come and kick me. LOL~! (Roar roar~)

  10. scope,
    i think rain's advice to the OP to seek legal advice is still the best course of action. contrary to what you're saying, what you say online in your blog or on a forum about another person can land you in court for defamation or libel if the person targeted can prove that he is identifiable in what you wrote. There was one case in England a while back where a public figure was called a Nazi in an online forum and the person targetted successfully sued for damages.

  11. I completely disagree with scopettg's opinion.

    If someone has written something false about you, which has harmed your reputation -- it's libel.

    Period.

  12. Libel is a legal term so it's only libel if a court says so.

  13. What one says in a defamatory manner about another can also have consequences which may or may not be intentional. For instance I was defamed by a blogger, which led to crazy people clinging to every word and showing up at my doorstep. While the defamer isn't the one who showed up at my house with a gun, the things stated to me while I was assaulted, make it clear how/where the person ended up at my home. Especially since defaming blogger listed my address information. While the real name they associate with me is incorrect, the address info isn't. Pretty clever, wouldn't you say? Put someone's life at risk, while skirting culpability. And yes, this was done on a WordPress blog. And yes, the police are involved, as this is the 3rd time I've been greeted with a gun at my household.

  14. I mention all of this, cuz it is an issue which I believe WordPress needs to address. I fought tooth and nail, with no luck, at getting them to shut that blog down. It still sits there with information leading to me in the real world. And I don't even know who the author of the blog is. Just some ass getting off on bringing drama into someone else's life. Real people's lives are jeopardized.

  15. scopettg said:

    Legally speaking, in real, defamation act is not really applicable on blogging, forums and online, especially blogging. Of course, unless you have declared your blog and in the nature of it to hold sufficient credibility amounting to a an injuria that is valid.

    I don't believe this is correct. Blogs, forums, and online sources are a form of publication. The wikipedia article on defamation explicitly mentions blogging as a medium in which libel occurs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Types_of_torts). What is "in virtual reality" has, increasingly, real consequences. If there is a serious issue, check with a lawyer.

  16. If someone's name goes into a search engine, and prospective employers search engine names; then it is more than just blogging (when someone writes about another), in my book. When writing about another's life has negative or positive consequences; it's no longer a personal journal of thoughts. Of course, one always focuses on the negative. But when one writes in a manner where a virtual person is definitively tied to the real world, it's no longer an act of journal blogging. Even if the clever fools start every entry with, "Dear Diary." As they've done in my situation. It can be defamation or libel.

  17. Hi guys and gals!

    @LettersHomeToYou: I am aware of that 'Nazi' case, but the discussion here is about 'By Right'. And this judgement is about a forum. In real, forum participation is all decided by the governments and it has to be the nature of things for the nature of that forum. In Europe, a 'Nazi' issue is as much the case of sensitive 'racial' issue in Singapore. This part is about relating to national interest.

    In Singapore forum, if you raise racial issues, say, with a hint of racialism in your insults or what, the forum will delete your msgs. In blogs, the government may come in with summons. This is the nature of it; That in China, Falun Gong and such are sensitive. You can't just call someone 'Fulun Gung'. (In a forum, the real issue is by right still the host, not the 'untrained' or 'uninformed' individuals. And the action is to delete, not sue.)

    But that doesn't mean it's acceptable on legal basis to sue. All these online cases are still in the transition phase of judiciary understanding on cyberspace happenings, and the technology is still changing! Just because there is this 'Nazi' preceedent doesn't mean anything. Just as someone in USA sold the moon with official sales papers doesn't mean that it is legal or right. Just because people got sued for chewing gums in Singapore or legally punished for being a rape victim in middle east doesn't mean that should be applied worldwide.

    So this case is very much about the national interest of European states. It should not be perceived as the usual defamation cases.

    Besides, it doesn't matter if you can identify who is who. I am sure WordPress may have now the experience from Brazil to understand this point.

    @Singularcontiguity: I have never said libel is not a problem with blogs, but I have explained how such things can occur. We cannot lump every case together. Defamation is after all a tort, you go case by case. I have mentioned that by the nature of blogging, unless someone is crazy enough to declare his or her blog (online space) is a credible publication you will have to be responsible to the gains and the woes from such credibility you seek openly. It's the same if you declare your diary to be a newspaper-like publication, where (eg) you replicate and sell the diary contents. What will happen?

    Besides, Wikipedia is not really a legal bible. It's just an entry that even myself may have some inputs. We cannot stick to Wikipedia as no respectable Law faculty shall by right rely on such resources for their legal training or practice. :)

    In English laws, there is this issue about taking insane people to courts. Insane people are people whose actions have, for one, no credibility and reasons needed. The nature of blogging is... never official but always personal, and within the cyberspace as if you are on Mars. No credibility is necessarily established, and it never needs for reasons to input 'UHBVHNWEOUGOHLZNH*)Y*HHOEHNPWJW' or "I just feel like f***ing Bush". If you consider it similar to an appraisal in many cases, you'd understand.

    So that explains the 'Nazi' case. It's not even valid legally as no English laws really provide for that which appeals or can override international behavior under the UN charter be it on discrimination or sovereignty. One lone state cannot provide for such legal power's implementation, by right. If we outside Britain were to find the 'Nazi' (or using 'communist') calling acceptable or even welcoming, when has English Laws been so powerful to judge that this English man who appeal to a public on a global platform is illegal? If German is still facist, (But China is still considered communist) this is a show of state animosity. Got the nature of this concern even if the plaintiff and defendant are both British?

    So we have to see the case of the threadstarter and hopefully we can settle the issue within cyberspace. No lawyers have really undergone New Media laws' training as there is never one internationally, since no state can claim they own any part of cyberspace or moon, or sun, or galaxy.

    So if lawyers have never gone through such training, going to lawyers will only lead to more 'strange' preceedents. Which is why I have never advocated such moves in real.

    @Diamondfistwerny, Cathleen222 and Mach10: If court cases are just 'I believe this an this is so, and I cannot agree or even believe in Scope' and you can close the case, then why should people read laws?

    In legal terms, injuria is not necessarily amounting damages. I have to repeat again. Just because you feel hurt doesn't mean you should sue. By right, again, legal methods should be the last resort. This is the thumbrule especially for defamation cases; because your public relation issues are not and should not be that of the courts'.

    It doesn't really matter if your diary appears on the search engines, or someone told your mother about your diary (maybe you feel like having sex with the teacher and you wrote that down). I am trying very hard to help people understand here. The nature of the (eg) diary never changes with bots (search engines) or people peeping and spreading the contents.

    You can call this a loophole or what, but an online diary is still very much a diary. Your personal diary. When the computers took over, they replace the papers. We cannot lump every piece of paper in this world to be considered as the next 'New York Times', which is legally ridiculous. Why hence should there be any special status between a state publication, New York Times, a blog or home video and official productions?

    It is not hard hence to identify the legal concerns each enjoys. But many people simply lump everything together. They can do that, by insistence which is regretfully barbaric. If so, why justice?

    Let me just put it very clearly, it doesn't matter if anyone agrees or disagrees: New York Times and a blog are different.

    Nobody will link the nature of the two together, unless (eg) Raincoaster declares her blog to be a credible news publication. Otherwise how can anyone claim the same legal privilleges between the two?

    With such new tech in communication, interaction on differences are available via comments and such functions. Between two parties, if your communication is open, how justifiable is anyone to make the courts their PR departments?

    So only lousy courts admit such... funny cases.

    Love cannot be ordered, dear people. Just because people doesn't love you doesn't mean there are damages. The world doesn't love Scope, where can I claim damages? LOL.

    Hope that helps. And of course, I have never said 'by left' we don't have absurd courts, crazy judges, substandard governments and so on.

    Scope.

  18. One quick comment: Never accept legal advice from anyone you encounter in an online forum. scopettg's views may be legally sound (in some country or other), or they may be completely baseless. I wouldn't know which, but I see an interesting mix of assertions and wishes in those long posts.

    Caveat emptor.

    --Jim Aikin

  19. Hi, Midiguru!

    This is not a legal advice but a discussion. How many who come to blog will have their own lawyers waiting on them? Going to the lawyers on every ill-feelings would better have WordPress remove such people from the community for the sake of blogging.

    Cyberspace is much like the 'open sea'. It's just that many people don't care beyond their emotions.

    My take is that if people come to the forum to seek 'help' or views, we might be just be generous about it. :)

    In terms of 'Wishes'... I do agree with you. When USA advanced on Afganistan and Iraq, yes, UN was there alongside with the charters, but... it's 'By Left'. This is the whole idea of international activities with international laws. Which is also why Singapore has an international lawsuit with Malaysia over an island. To courts and governments who can't be reasoned with, the only option is to plan to leave.

    By right it's like this, by left it's like that. Which is why I do not advocate resorting to lawyers to promote a confusion in such a transition era. And who in the world can tell me of any law school who has trained lawyers proper on new media, and what kind of constitution and such were involved? As WordPress has experience with Brazil, the assertions here become very real.

    In this 'open sea' who has the rights?

    China's attitude on internet, hence their perception towards defamation will be different. What China or India likes, will not of course necessarily be that of USA's preferences. This is very real. It's happening now. So do take heed.

    Scope.

  20. True, it's a discussion and you can bring in examples of the press and the law for every jurisdiction on the planet if you like, but the OP had a specific question: who can I contact for this concern?

    The answer: a lawyer. The rest is just wind.

  21. Hi Lettershometoyou!

    Honestly, do you really think he's out here in the forum without knowing that 'defamation' can be linked to 'finding lawyers'? :)

    Besides, it's reality that many bloggers are not readily wanting to get lawyers. Whether online cases are valid or not, who really want to go to court for blogging? Usually, people blog, and get free host, just to blog for blogging's sake. Many won't pay the host, how many want to pay lawyers? :D

    No offence, just my personal take on this one.

    Scope.

  22. How do I know what he thinks or really wants to do? The member asks a question, I respond with a credible answer, which is that if he's serious about getting good advice and resolving this issue the best he can, he'll have to either pay for a lawyer or find one who's willing to do it pro bono.

  23. Hi, Lettershometoyou!

    Good idea. :)

    Scope.

  24. The OP didn't come to ask for "views." The OP came to ask if he or she has legal action. I would go to court if I were defamed or libeled in any forum. It's NOT the same as "going to court over blogging." If a reputation is harmed over untrue statement made as if they were true, a person can and should go to court.

    Of course people are allowed to say, "In my opinion, this person is a jerk." and that is not actionable but if you say John Jones is a child molester and John Jones is NOT a child molester, it's libel. On the other hand if John Jones has been convicted of molesting a child then truth is a complete defense. No one is saying that love can be ordered. But defamation and libel are actionable. There is a world of difference there.

    OP: seek legal advice from a lawyer if you think you have been defamed or libeled.

  25. "A tort cannot be valid when there is no valid mens rea."

    Scopettg: where do you get this? Under US law, a tort is a civil offense. Mens Rea attaches to criminal acts. You do not need mens rea for torts in the US. Where are you getting this information from? Which law school did you attend?

  26. Hi SusangPYP!

    This is in response to the message whom people assume it as 'Criminal' offence. Please read the above articles.

    But here, one offence can carry criminal and civil liabilities. It is hardly strange that if one is considered right criminally and wrong in civil part by the same judge. Lol.

    I think you have noticed that this friend of ours has cited 'European Laws' as a concen, not USA.

    Rgds.
    Scope.

  27. BTW, I am not arguing whether the persons want legal advise or not. But obviously, I am just offering my views on this if he does or doesn't end up contacting anybody. I'd deem it only fair that he can have choice and exposure to others' generous views.

    Scope.

  28. It's still dangerous to bandy about "opinion" versus defamation and to mix the two of them up both legally and practically. The OP needs to consult with a lawyer to see if he or she has been defamed and what the ramifications are in his or her jurisdiction.

    There is also a choice of law issue and whether or not U.S. laws apply or what laws apply may also be an issue. And not every European nation has the same set of laws.

  29. Hi, Susangpyp!

    Actually, it'd be more helpful to offer some views on his handling of such matters instead of simply directing him to lawyers. Especially that we cannot simply assume that 80% of the bloggers are so rich enough to always consult lawyers.

    Actually I also am refraining from pointing out to you that, even USA, mens rea is an important factor in such 'civil cases' although even in USA, states do have differences in courts judgements... Which is why I said 'in general'. I do not want to appear as... you know, arguing.

    It's very important to also realise that there is no such thing as global internet laws for such global activities. From a legal aspect, it's to me, very unfair to have 'family lawyers' in on such deep issues. And indeed, many courts simply and presumeably rely on traditional laws which is rather absurd.

    We are all bloggers here. Having the legal stinks coming in especially in such transitional era is very unwise.

    Trust me, lawyers are not 100% reliable. In Edison Vs Cecilia Chueng's father, the lawyer is reportedly claiming a high chance of victory. But anyone who knows laws enough might have the eyebrows raised. Fact is, every section has plaintiff and defendant; most defendants and plaintiffs have lawyers who always say: There is a good chance of winning the other...

    Anyway, I doubt it's illegal to play the appelle here. Lol. Take it easy, pretty.

    Courts themselves are not reliable as well on traditional cases. Why would people want to pull in lawyers to the blogosphere? Laws are not the end to everything, nor should be the means. Allow me to share my view with you that: It's more dangerous to pull lawyers in as and when somebody screams.

    The only jurisdiction is that in this global activities, it's actually legally baseless.

    You said yourself, every European state and even USA state may have different laws. But state concerns is that it involves sovereignty, which European states can assert itself on another European state or even America itself, by right?

    This friend here obviously stated European laws, and he chooses to come here for views instead of going to the lawyers. Even in USA laws, what is a forum's legal privilege? A forum is for views. :)

    Take it easy, Susangpyp. Your views are appreciated as well.

    Scope.

  30. please stop.

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