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Model Seeks Court Order To Identify Anonymous Blogger

A model has asked a court to require Google to turn over a name or other information that would identify an anonymous blogger who posted derogatory comments about her sexual behaviors, looks, and mental state.
A model has asked a court to require Google to turn over a name or other information that would identify an anonymous blogger who posted derogatory comments about her sexual behaviors, looks, and mental state.According to reports from The Associated Press and other media outlets, Google said it would provide subscriber information only under subpoena or a similar legal requirement.

A judge's order could do the trick, and the model, Liskula Cohen, could sue the blogger for libel. Although libel law can be fuzzy when it comes to online communication, the blog, called Skanks In NYC, at Blogspot, is fairly public and easy to locate. It's certainly more public than individual e-mail or spam or a phone conversation. And it contains statements of fact (alleging that Cohen is "psychotic" and engages in a variety of unbecoming behaviors). At least one of the statements could be proven false.

Since a model's image is everything, it's no stretch to argue that such statements could materially damage her. And the statements themselves are so malicious and immature that it would be hard to question whether the blogger's intent was to harm or injure.

There you go. Requirements met. Even for a public figure, like a model or celebrity, who has a higher standard in terms of successfully litigating a libel claim.

The same anonymous blogger also appears to have started a blog on New York City's night club scene, which appears to have some insider or firsthand knowledge. That hints at money to be made if legal action works out in Cohen's favor.

Since many bloggers aren't journalists and many citizen journalists don't complete required coursework on issues like mass-media law and ethics, it doesn't surprise me that some of the newer breed cross the line or come dangerously close. But as more and more people prove their worth as writers and reporters without university training, there's less and less of an excuse for being ignorant of legal precedent and similar issues.

In fact, the Electronic Frontier Foundation lays out a pretty simple explanation of libel and defamation on its Web site.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer