With the internet fast becoming the most popular forum for written communication, the old-fashioned way of confronting an adversary by phoning or writing a letter has long gone by the wayside. Just about anybody can create an account on any one of a number of websites and write things that are either naughty or nice. An example of the former involves a Topix defamation lawsuit. Topix is a popular ‘opinion’ site where people recommend (or not) everything from restaurants and hotels to doctors and attorneys.
The reason for discussing the Topix Defamation case (Cooley v. Ballew) is that it brings to the forefront just how damaging defamation can be. It took three years for the case to be settled, during which time vicious and disparaging remarks flew back and forth on that site.
Those communications crossed a specific threshold and were deemed defamatory. If you think that you may have fallen victim to Topix defamation, there is a good acid test you can use. Ask yourself the following:
1. Were the statements made false?
2. Was the material visible by more than ten people?
3. Were the remarks accusatory? For example, did they say that you:
Are sexually deviant;
Committed a crime;
Are incompetent to perform your profession; and/or
Have a horrible disease?
Although everybody has the right to invoke their First Amendment right to freedom of speech, there is no excuse for deliberately posting information to websites that is defamatory. If you . suspect that you are indeed receiving Topix defamation, there are many routes you can go to take care of the problem. You can simply find the culprit (not always easy) and communicate to them that you know who they are and that you are planning to take action against them. This is the gentlest action. The harshest is to begin a lawsuit.
However, anonymous posts abound on websites like Topix. All you need to create a new account is an email address. Those are available, free, by the handful. Reputation Defense Online, a cyber investigation firm, specializes in helping its clients find those anonymous attackers. Briefly summarized, this company will :
1. Identify the best course of action to stop the defamation. This is done via a free initial consultation.
2. Actively investigate to find out exactly who the attacker is.
3. Put the culprit on official notice. If your goal is simply to get the attacks to stop, this may as far as you need to go.
4. Collect and compile data should a lawsuit become necessary.
5. Actually begin the legal process by filing a lawsuit.
6. Attempt to ‘settle’ with the attacker, if possible.
7. Follow through and actually complete the lawsuit.
If you are the victim of Topix defamation, visit the cyber investigation professionals at www.ReputationDefenseOnline.com. Don’t wait until the problem gets out of hand!