The following courthousenews.com article is a perfect example of why you should be careful on what you write in the content of your posts. Although you are entitled to free expression online, no one has the right to ruin someone by defamation, and if you do, it may cost you.
Before defamation issues will start to improve on the internet, it going to take some large awards payouts like this to get through to “bloggers” and anonymous attackers to understand consequences of their postings. Yes, we have the right and freedoms to enjoy voicing ourselves, but understand there is fine line between defamation and opinion.
Defaming people is not “1st amendment freedom of speech”. The general perception is that posters can say what they want online and there is no consequence in doing it because of my constitutional right. Well guess what- You can’t! If at any point that expressed opinion written, spoken or otherwise crosses the line you may find yourself in a defamation lawsuit.
For instance, one of the motions that were filed by the defendant was that; in the defendant’s opinion, this group was a public figure and thus comes under a very different set of criteria for defamation. Put simply, public figures must PROVE beyond doubt that the person knew the defamatory information they posted was false. Sometimes the burden of proof can be difficult.
On the other hand, a non-public person’s must only prove that a reasonable person would have known the information posted was false. Whether or not those posting were meant to cause harm by publically posting the information or just a private “dig” it just might have to be determined in court if the person feels victimized.
These types of defamation cases are exploding and becoming headline news. When the judge denied the motion regarding this case, it quickly undercut the defense key hope. It’s nice when sometimes the good guys actually win.