Another Twitter lawsuit

Several weeks ago, I talked to people about the Chicago Twitter defamation case. Monday, another case regarding defamation surfaced. This time, it involved celebrity Courtney Love and a dispute with a designer. The designer accuses Courtney Love of using twitter and her website to defame her. Among the accusations are that Courtney Love used these mediums to allege she was a drug addict, a prostitute, and some other words that I don’t want to publish on my blog.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Courtney Love’s attorney has stated “It is important that this cherished right not be marginalized when speech is communicated via the Internet. Ms. Cobain (Love) enjoys using Twitter and expressing her views … to her fans and those who are interested in following what she has to say.”

Although most of my readers (I think) aren’t famous, the question still arises – what is safe and what isn’t safe to say on my blog or website. Unfortunately, this really depends on who you are and what you do. For instance, if I was an advising an accountant, I would say that you need to be careful about what tax advice you give (along with thousands of other things). I would advise a teenager to be careful about posting explicit information or pictures about another teen (in addition to a thousand other things). For pretty much everyone, I would say to be careful posting anything untrue about anyone or something that you wouldn’t want said about yourself.

Just like with any other media, if you say something that is an outright lie (i.e. Elizabeth Lewis is a terrible artist, because, come on guys, I can actually draw, paint, and take photographs!), you can face defamation charges. So, for instance, if in the case described above, the person isn’t actually a drug user or prostitute but the information was posted to cause people to stop using her, there could be a problem. However, on the other hand, if the person is a drug addict and prostitute, it would be hard to argue defamation.

In order to make sure either you, or your company, is safe from law suits, it is always good to have someone familiar with online law to review what you are posting online. For instance, I review companies’ communication policies to ensure that anything said online or offline about the company or its clients isn’t going to cause the company problems. I also review companies’ websites and literature to ensure it is okay to print. So whether it is in print or online, if you are going to be printing something, make sure you are in compliance with defamation, advertising, and any other laws that may apply!

In housing news…

So two exciting things happened in housing news recently. First, as reported on several media sites, a twitter user is being sued for defamation for tweeting that her apartment was moldy. Her landlord is stating that the apartment was not moldy and that the remark is causing him loss of business. Due to this, he is asking for damages that he has sustained.

This case shows a couple of things. First, just like with any other media, you have to make sure what you say is true. To purposely lie about a person or business can cause problems if it is found to affect their earning income or cause trauma to them. Second, this case may help determine what level of proof you need when you tweet something. If it is found that there is mold in her apartment, it may be harder for the landlord to get any money.

I’ll keep you updated as the case progresses – watch for more fun with the twitterville to come!

On a second note, our offices moved this weekend. Most people can’t say they are working in a place on the historic register. Now that we are at the D&F Clock Tower on 16th Street Mall, I can! Yes, the space is as small as it looks but for a small firm it will be great. I look forward to meeting with my clients at this great new location (and if I am lucky, watching the New Year fireworks from it)! The main site will be updated soon with the new address and pictures!