Tag Archives: Defamation

Love Birds? No, Courtney’s Tweets

MP900315682 I keep telling myself I'll just pick out & post only the most egregious misuses of technology to make my points.  The problem is, it's pretty much becoming a daily occurrence.  It's the same way with privacy.  I wasn't even going to bother with this latest example, except that it has some juicy issues for lawyers – if you're interested in defamation claims, that is.

The facts are simple.  Courtney Love tweeted a bunch of nasty stuff about Dawn S., who claimed Love owed her money.  Love was sued for defamation by Dawn S.

In the United States, it's extremely difficult for a public figure to sue for defamation.  There's this legal terminology called "actual malice" that may factor in.  Naturally, a term like that gives rise to the obvious query; is there such a thing as imaginary malice?  A prof of mine said to think of it as "Constitutional malice", which was a little easier to get my arms around.  But I digress…

What's interesting about this case is that the arguments go to the very basis of whether Love qualifies as someone with enough influence to damage Dawn S.  Should we reasonably believe – or rely on – what Love says, especially when the form of broadcast (in this case, Twitter) is at issue?  So much for "The medium is the message"…

Also, I'll wager you've never heard the term, "Insanity defense for social media".  Get used to it…I have a feeling we're going to be hearing it a lot in the future.