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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...

Removing Internet Defamation From the Internet: Solutions are Fact-Dependent

When it comes to handling internet defamation issues and other online reputation attacks—specifically in terms of removing the content from the internet— the solutions are, in one word: fact-dependent.  There is no other way to describe it. And there is no perfect solution that can be applied to every instance of...

How Businesses Can Protect Their Executives From Online Reputation Attacks

Businesses are incredibly vulnerable to online reputation attacks.  Virtually anyone with a motive can seriously harm a business’s reputation online.  This issue has been previously framed from a company perspective.  What has not been discussed as much is how company executives are also quite susceptible to being attacked online, and...

Online Comments, Free Speech and Internet Defamation: News Outlets Challenged by Internet Commenters

On Nov. 12, 2015, The Montana Standard published an online editorial about forthcoming changes to its online commenting policy.  This might seem trivial outside of the readership for this newspaper from the fifth largest city in the 44th most populated U.S. state.  But beginning in late November, The Montana Standard’s...

Video: Three Steps to Combat Unauthorized Online Sales, Product Diversion

Beyond internet defamation, another leading brand protection issue is unauthorized online sales and product diversion.  Many companies limit through which distribution channels and by whom their products can be sold.  But, as one might predict, these products still often end up being sold online, outside authorized distribution channels, such as on eBay...

How to Remove Harmful, Harassing Content From Pinterest

Based on its visual nature, defamation is less common on Pinterest than on other top social media websites.  Pinterest – the online “pinboard” website on which users virtually bookmark content on their own boards and explore others’ pins and boards – is ranked 16th by Alexa Internet in its list of top U.S....

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...