Temper, Temper…

MP900149066Let's begin with the premise that the Internet makes it easier to…

Does your mind automatically think of positive attributes such as, 'communicate with others', 'market your business' or 'research virtually any topic'?  You'd be right about all of them.  Unfortunately, the Internet also makes it easier to:

Defame others.

There have been a trifecta of such cases in Georgia; and juries haven't been shy about awarding substantial (six-figure) damages.  What's the commonality?  They're all blogging cases.  The highest award of the three is $900,000 (The article says it's nearly ten-times what the plaintiff's sought – $48,000 – but isn't that nearly twenty-times?  Must be that new math…)

Yikes!  Did I mention how much I love you all?

People are taking – what used to be – vicious 'water cooler' gossip at worst and posting it online.  Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law, that creates an important distinction.  It changes an old case of slander (spoken statement, aka 'to the ear') into a new case of libel (written statement, aka 'to the eye').

Hint – libel is usually considered more serious.  Never mind the evidentiary advantages (you put your comments in writing), but people are much more apt to believe something written rather than spoken.  Why?  Because the perception is that someone wouldn't put an item in writing unless they had a reasonable level of confidence that it was true.

I guess they haven't been watching the primary contest, lately…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page