Angela Gibson and Colleen Devanney, partners in the Vorys Cincinnati office, co-authored an article titled “How Employers Should Address Speech in the Online World” for the ?Cincinnati Business Courier.
When unidentified individuals defame businesses or professionals online, the harmed parties can potentially serve subpoenas on relevant entities for documents containing identifying information about the authors of the online defamation.
When people want to learn about a product, service, company or professional, they often go straight to the internet. And, unsurprisingly, a large percentage of people are going directly to search engines.
We have written about subpoenaing internet service providers (ISPs) for identifying information relating to internet protocol (IP) addresses used by their subscribers. In that post, we mentioned that securing identifying information from cable operator ISPs generally requires obtaining a court order authorizing disclosure of the subscriber information.
Ordinarily, serving a subpoena to identify an anonymous internet poster requires first filing a lawsuit. In fact, we have published several posts about using subpoenas to identify unknown authors of internet defamation and have explained that the first step in the process is filing a complaint against the unknown poster.
Professionals and companies are being harmed online and on social media in a number of ways. One increasingly common form of online harassment is impersonation of the person (or company) that the harasser is intending to harm through the creation of fake public personas on social media platforms or websites.
Online reviews affect nearly every industry, and health care is certainly one of them. What differentiates health care, in this context, is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA.
A California appellate court recently affirmed a lower court’s decision to require Yelp to remove three defamatory reviews. The First Appellate District did, however, remand the case to the trial court to narrow the terms of the removal order, which ordered Yelp to also remove potential future reviews.
Employers are vulnerable to being the targets of negative online and social media postings, and sometimes these statements can give rise to defamation claims. However, an employer considering suing a current or former employee for internet defamation must be careful if the (ex-)employee recently engaged in protected activity.
It is not uncommon for people to create fake social media profiles of celebrities and other public figures. Unfortunately, some people also imitate non-public figures, often for harassment purposes. This is especially problematic on Facebook, which refers to these accounts as “impostor Timelines.”
The problem for the individuals upset with TheDirty.com (that want to sue the owner) is that ythe owner is not the speaker of these controversial statements. Rather, other people (members of the so-called “Dirty Army”) submit the content to him directly through his website or via email.
All too often, dishonest companies damage their competitors’ reputations online by making a series of false statements on review-based websites. Competitors regularly seek refuge on websites such as Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp, which are structured such that users can anonymously post false reviews.