Dilanchian Lawyers & Consultants
(02) 9269 0229
Blog_functions_istock

Anonymous and pseudonym lose defamation cases

My entry into social media in 2006 was facilitated by conversations in earlier years with Des Walsh.

As a strategist in the field, Des has a keen interest in legal considerations for social media. He has often spoken to me about the legal risk of defamation on a social media network, eg Facebook, YouTube or Whirlpool.

In a recent conversation with him I told him that the best  headline or title for a Lightbulb blog post was written by Michael Clarke, a lawyer who worked at our firm. The post concerned how Dick Smith, a prominent person in Australian life and business, took legal action to discover the identity of the anonymous author who made a disparaging comment about Dick in an online forum.

Dick claimed it was defamatory and the author paid dearly. I know this because the author called me to request we remove the author's name from our Lightbulb post. I did so immediately to ease the author's pain.

So what remains our blog's best ever headline? - "You don't know Dick - but he knows you".

Yesterday, Des sent me a one line email titled "He didn't know Dick either". He linked a very interesting report in the BRW business magazine concerning a new case of exposure of an author of disparaging or defamatory comments online. This author used a pseudonym. The BRW headline is "No Name is No Defence". We think ours are better. :)

OUR TAKEAWAY is that legal liability can result from the online activities below. In an organisation or company there should be a policy and training on the subject. In a practical sense each activity involves greater legal risk of defamation claims than unrecorded offline gossip or phone calls.

  • A post at an online forum
  • A rave in a chat room
  • Instant messaging
  • Comments uploaded to social media sites.

FOR MORE DETAIL read A Worldpool of Legal Risk.


Social Icons

Tabs Widget

Vivamus imperdiet condimentum diam, eget placerat felis consectetur id. Donec eget orci metus, ac ac adipiscing nunc.

Pellentesque fermentum, ante ac felis consectetur id. Donec eget orci metusvivamus imperdiet.

Photo Stream