Actions for Victims of Defamation

Actions for Victims of Defamation

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Well, Matt, the first steps that we normally recommend is to have the victim of internet defamation provide us with the defamatory posts and their explanations why they believe the posting is defamatory.  So, the first thing that we do is to identify all of the postings that are at issue.  And then, with the assistance of the victim of the internet defamation posts, identify whether it is, in fact, defamatory.

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you?

Matt Plessner:  Hello Again.  It’s Matt Plessner for Defamation Law Radio.  Today, we’re going to talk about options for victims of internet defamation and attorney-at-law, Mark Clark, an internet lawyer from the Traverse Legal Office in Traverse City, Michigan joins us today.  Mark, how are you?

Mark:  I’m doing well, Matt.  How are you?

Matt:  I’m doing very well, thank you.  Now, let’s start off by talking about the first steps in assisting victims of internet defamation.  What are these first steps, Mark?

Mark:  Well, Matt, the first steps that we normally recommend is to have the victim of internet defamation provide us with the defamatory posts and their explanations why they believe the posting is defamatory.  So, the first thing that we do is to identify all of the postings that are at issue.  And then, with the assistance of the victim of the internet defamation posts, identify whether it is, in fact, defamatory.  In order for the post to be defamatory, it has to be not only false, but it has to cast the victim in a negative light.  So, we have to make sure that it is, in fact, defamatory.  There are posts from potential victims that we speak with which turn out to be negative, but really just a matter of opinion relative to the internet defamation post that the victim is concerned with.  So, it is important as a first step to make certain that what we’re reviewing is, in fact, defamatory.

Matt:  Now, after these first steps are taken, people probably want to know, are there ways to remove internet defamation from the web completely?

Mark:  Well, there are, Matt.  In order to remove internet defamation from the web, it’s important to review all of the different facts and circumstances with the potential victim of internet defamation.  There may be remedies available against not only the poster of the information or the individual who posts the internet defamation, but there may be remedies against the host website that hosts the posting of the information.  So, there are ways to remove it from the web, but they do, in fact, depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of the posts themselves.

Matt:  And what is the very best way for a victim of internet defamation to proceed from a legal standpoint?

Mark:  Well, in order to identify whether the posting is, in fact, defamatory, and in order to identify the best strategies for identifying potential ways to remove it, we always recommend that the victim undergo a preliminary assessment to identify the best ways and to develop the best strategies for removal of the internet defamation.  Some of those strategies may include the initiation of a threat letter, against either the poster of the information or the internet website. And by the way, we can also assist the potential victim, in many cases, in identifying the poster of the information where they are anonymous.  There are also letters to the search engines which may afford an opportunity to delist the offending material from search engine results, rather than simply having it removed if that turns out to be too difficult or impossible without the initiation of a lawsuit.  And then, of course, there is the initiation of litigation in order to have it removed, depending upon the urgency and gravity of the posting of the internet defamation.

Matt:  Well, Mark, as always, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show.

Mark:  Well, Matt, it’s always a pleasure being here and I look forward to our next discussion.

Matt:  Join us next time on Defamation Law Radio.  I’m Matt Plessner.

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