Posting the Dirt

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Q: I am a high school teacher and also a cheerleader for a local professional football team.  One day, I discovered that a message had been posted on a website, linking me to an infamous football player.  “They’ve been spotted around town lately.  You would think, with his paycheck, he could attract something a little easier on the eyes!  She’s also gone out with every other player.  This girl is a teacher too!”

Upon learning of this post, I emailed the website and requested that it be removed.  The answer was ‘no’.  Soon, another post was made to the website.  “He tested positive.  I am sure she also would.  They even brag about going to the class room where she teaches.”  Again, I e-mailed the website requesting that the post be removed, but my request was ignored.

This website is operated from another state.  The public is requested to post ‘dirt’ about individuals on the website.  Anyone may do so.  Once posted, others can comment, and they do.  Even the operator posted at least one comment, which was basically supportive of this ‘dirt’.

A: This website intentionally reaches beyond the boundaries of its home state to affect residents of other states.  The posts effectively invite hits from residents of the region where you live and work.  In an internet context, it is consistent with constitutional due process for a website that intentionally targets you with postings that are libelous per se to be haled into your local court.

Moreover, the immunity afforded by the Communications Decency Act is not absolute.  Your attorney will argue that the immunity should be forfeited because the site owner invites the posting of illegal materials or and because if makes actionable postings itself.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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