Identify Anonymous Defamers

Serving Subpoenas to Unmask the Identities of Website Owners, Domain Registrants

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. The way this process often plays out is as follows (noting this is extremely generalized): Party A publishes false and...

Subpoenas, Court Orders and the ‘Cable Privacy Act’: Identifying Anonymous Online Posters

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. To briefly illustrate,...

Utilizing IP Addresses to Subpoena Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

The majority of online defamation is posted anonymously or pseudonymously. Thus, many cases require issuing subpoenas—including to internet service providers (ISPs)—to identify the unknown posters. This process often involves obtaining internet protocol (IP) addresses from an entity, in response to an initial subpoena; determining the ISPs that own the respective IP addresses...

Actor Can Proceed With Twitter Defamation Lawsuit, Likely to Unmask Anonymous Twitter User

Actor James Woods is one step closer to unmasking the identity of the unknown Twitter user he sued for $10 million last summer. Last Monday, Judge Mel Recana of the Los Angeles County Superior Court denied the defendant’s Special Motion to Strike. This allows Woods to proceed with his case against...

Video: How to Identify Anonymous Internet Posters

Many, if not most, online attacks — including defamation — are carried out anonymously or pseudonymously.  Bad actors typically conceal their identities, whether using aliases and providing fake information to websites or taking greater measures such as masking IP addresses. What many do not realize, in particular those who merely provide...

Court: Defamation Plaintiff Must Provide Evidence to Unmask Unknown Avvo.com Poster

A Washington appellate court offered defamation plaintiffs a friendly reminder last week: if you want to unmask the identity of an unknown internet poster, you better present evidence to back up your defamation claims. In a July 6 opinion, the Court of Appeals of Washington ruled that a Florida attorney...

How to Remove a Defamatory Instagram Post

Although visual in nature, people are not immune from defamation on the popular photo-sharing app Instagram.  In fact, in 2014 – merits of the respective claims aside – rappers 50 Cent and The Game were each sued in unrelated matters for allegedly tarnishing others’ reputations through Instagram posts.  Instagram – the...

False Competitor Reviews: John Doe Lawsuits & False Advertising Claims

There is no denying that online reviews are important for businesses.  After all, customers regularly search them out and are increasingly relying them. According to a 2014 survey of 2,104 consumers, SEO expert BrightLocal found that 88 percent of the respondents had read online reviews for local businesses and 88...

Reddit ‘Rarely’ Removes Defamation, Other Harmful or Offensive Speech

If given the opportunity, anyone that has been defamed on Reddit would surely “downvote” the popular website for its policy on defamation removal.  According to Reddit, it is uncommon for administrators of the website – self-branded as “a source for what’s new and popular on the web” – to remove...

Subpoenas, Forensic Exams and Cyber Investigation: How to Identify Anonymous or Unknown Internet Posters

It is no secret that people are more comfortable publishing harmful statements on the internet when their identities are unknown.  As such, the sources of internet defamation and other online reputation attacks typically publish damaging content anonymously or pseudonymously.  Therefore, pursuing an attacker in an internet defamation case often involves...