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  Post #1 (permalink)   10-27-2009, 04:38 PM
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I haven't encountered this issue from either a client or host perspective, however I have read of some cases related to it so I'm interested in what to do if it ever occurs.

So let's say one of your clients is a individual who has a anti-<insert company here> website and they don't claim to be associated with the said company, I then get a letter from the company complaining that one of my clients is defaming them. Is such a complaint legitimate?

As I know defaming is illegal but such a website can also be considered freedom of speech so I'm not sure what would be the right thing to do.

Perhaps one of you out there more experienced with the law can guide me in the right direction, thanks.
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   10-27-2009, 05:02 PM
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Very interesting. I hadn't thought about this-having only dealt with comments directed at myself and I dealt with them quickly.

The law would also be a local issue here, as I'm sure some countries wouldn't give a stuff. Seems like a really big clash of rights there.
 
 
 


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  Post #3 (permalink)   10-27-2009, 09:04 PM
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I agree, AbbieRose, that the local law would be a huge factor. Most places, there must be some sort of line that delineates what is allowed and what is not.

I don't think that the claim holds though.
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   10-27-2009, 10:22 PM
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If the wording, images etc are registered trademarks or copyrights, there's a claim sitting right there.

If this is just a review of how something works (or doesn't) then it can fall under a freedom of speach since it's reviewing a product or service that failed to live up to the consumers standards.

If you receive a letter asking for the site to be taken down - run it past your lawyer. Better yet, have the complaint written sent from a lawyer's office. People who spend the money on the legal department usually will follow up on the complaint or threat.


Defamation is a general term for the false attack on your character or reputation through either libel or slander.
Libel is a term describing visual defamation, usually in the form of lies in print, or misleading or deceptive photographs.

Legally, this is exactly that - a case for the legals to hammer out. Personal opinion will get you nothing in a court of law.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   10-27-2009, 10:42 PM
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Conor has pretty much laid it out there for us. I have also not given this any thought until reading this post. Most often when something like this comes up I think it is more of an issues in regards to trademarks and copyrights as that is probably the easiest issues to target.
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   10-28-2009, 04:47 PM
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Thanks for all the responses, I will indeed consult a lawyer if such a thing occurs as that's typically what's advised to do from what I've read on other sites however, I asked anyway as I was hoping that someone who actually experienced something like that would read this and perhaps share their story.

I've also read that having the company's name in the domain can work against the individual as well even if their claims are true as the domain could be considered to be infringing their trademark. So that's something else to consider, just pointing it out in the unfortunate event that someone else who actually needs assistance with this stumbles across this thread.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   10-28-2009, 04:54 PM
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So it pretty much comes down to whether or not they can make the comments stick? As in if they are just reporting or re-telling something that is true, they get away with it, but if its a false attack then there could be cause for action?
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   10-28-2009, 04:55 PM
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We've actaully run into this situation before ourselves where we've been requested to remove things - but unless there's legal involved, we don't do anything. If it's just a reqeust - that's what it is - a request. And if they need to persue it, we advise legal action to do so.

We have however gone after sites that took OUR design and our content (word for word) and given 15 days to remove the content, if not, we go legal. On the 5 occassions, 4 of them removed without issue, one we did go legal and it was removed rather quickly.
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  Post #9 (permalink)   10-28-2009, 05:10 PM
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Pretty much - yes. There are places like "yourhostsucks.com", "hostingsthatsuck.com" or places like it which are general in nature but provide specifics about users experiences at particular hosting companies.

If you however decide to buy "yahoo-sucks" or "hostgator-sucks" - you'll quickly have lawyers on your tail as those names are specific and the page is a direct attempt to defame or otherwise cause revenue loss to an entity.

There's a fine line, but there is a line.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   10-28-2009, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handsonhosting View Post
We've actaully run into this situation before ourselves where we've been requested to remove things - but unless there's legal involved, we don't do anything. If it's just a reqeust - that's what it is - a request. And if they need to persue it, we advise legal action to do so.

We have however gone after sites that took OUR design and our content (word for word) and given 15 days to remove the content, if not, we go legal. On the 5 occassions, 4 of them removed without issue, one we did go legal and it was removed rather quickly.
Been there and done that on the word for word, I am sometimes shocked at the people who think its okay to steal content. Other times it amazes me.

The few times it has happened with us it was taken down within a matter of hours, only one person was threatened with a lawsuit and it took them about a week to get their head in gear.
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