Libel & Slander
In the Internet age, consumers often perform a Google search before purchasing a new product, dining at a new restaurant or even when looking for a medical professional. This behavior exists in the business world as well. Creditors and investors often perform internet due diligence on companies and executives before entering into transactions. Google search results essentially function as a business card for entrepreneurs, privately held companies, executives and financial services professionals.
Often, defamatory comments appear higher in Google search results than positive reviews, press releases and even the company's website. Consumers pay close attention to negative reviews and often avoid scrolling to the bottom of Google's search results for more complete information on a company or product. All too often, Internet defamation can cripple a company's reputation.
Raines Feldman LLP specializes in online reputation management for professionals, business leaders and small to mid-market companies. Our legal team handle dozens of Internet libel cases each year and understand how to counter defamatory internet content.Fighting Back Against Internet Libel and Defamation
We focus on protecting business clients victimized from online business defamation, including:
- Libel — A false statement of fact in writing that causes monetary harm to an individual or business.
- Libel per se — A libel that does not require any explanation, it is libelous on its face. Libel per se does not require proof of actual monetary damages, it allows for the recovery of general damages. This is critical because the most challenging aspect of many business libel cases is proving up actual monetary harm such as lost sales.
- Slander — Slander is the same as libel except that it is an oral statement.
According to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, interactive computer service providers are generally not responsible for the defamatory comments posted by their Internet users. The relevant cases in this area have established that user generated content websites like Facebook and Youtube qualify as interactive computer service providers. We have a clear understanding of the Communications Decency Act and employ the proper legal strategies in order to prosecute our clients’ libel and slander claims.
Unfortunately, many people posting defamatory digital content believe that internet speech is unrestrained. The First Amendment never has and never will protect defamatory speech. Furthermore, defamatory internet speech is not protected by the First Amendment’s right to anonymity. In cases of anonymous internet defamation, we act quickly to uncover the anonymous poster's identity through subpoenas and John Doe actions. We have a wealth of experience uncovering anonymous internet defendants. Internet protocol data is often the key to unmasking Doe defendants. Most internet service providers do not store this data longer than six months. Therefore, it is crucial to act quickly by retaining experienced legal counsel. Otherwise, key evidentiary facts may be lost through regular internet service provider data dumps.Contact Our California Internet Defamation Lawyers
For more information about slander and libel litigation, contact our office to meet with an experienced California Internet defamation attorney. Through litigation and pre-litigation negotiation, we have successfully removed hundreds of defamatory internet posts for our corporate and individual clients. We have also recovered millions of dollars in damages and confidential settlements.