Tweet now, be sued later?
A fashion designer sued Courtney Love over tweets Love posted following a dispute between the two (“You will end up in a circle of corched eaeth hunted til your dead,” the singer wrote).
Demi Moore and Perez Hilton traded lawyers letters after a series of tweets in which Moore accused Perez of flouting child pornography laws in posting and commenting on a picture of her daughter and the blogger said Moore was a bad mother.
An apartment company sued a tenant over her Twitter complaints of mould in her apartment.
The New York Times Style section does a round-up of these and other complaints in an article today that touts Twitter as the new breeding ground for libel suits.
But the main point may be that while Tweets may be the inspiration for lawsuits filed, it will rarely be the origins of a lawsuit won.
“When you look at a lot of the things people are complaining about it is not actual defamation, it is a statement of opinion,” the director of Harvard’s Citizen Media Law Project, David Ardia, told the Times.
Further, as First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams said, defendants might be expected to argue that even though the same laws apply to speech on Twitter as apply to any other speech, tweets are just not taken as seriously as other mediums of communication.
All this does not mean Tweeting your thoughts in real time (you know who you are) is a good idea — it risks both having your followers de-follow your banal musings and being on the receiving end of a libel suit. And even if a suit is not justified, it does not mean you want to fight one.
Read the full article — Short Outbursts? #Big Problem — here.
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