Posted by: ellenpayne2012 | November 2, 2012

Oregon’s first twitter libel case

You’ve probably seen them. They’re hard to miss. Local Dr. Darm commercials promoting his aesthetic spa practice (body sculpting, take wrinkles away, lose weight!)

That’s why I perked up when I heard last October that blogger Tiffany Craig faced a $1 million dollar lawsuit. Darm charged that she defamed him in her twitter account and blog.  

The Oct. 10, 2011, Oregonian article says “citing a 10-year-old order against the doctor by Oregon’s Medical Board, Craig wrote, in part, that the doctor tried to get sex in exchange for treatment.” Soon after an Oct. 12, 2011, Oregonian article reported that the suit had been dismissed, “as for Craig, she said she’s grateful for Oregon’s anti-SLAPP laws and hopes for the same protection at the federal level someday.”

What is an anti-SLAPP law? It’s a protective response to “a strategic lawsuit against public participation brought to intimidate an opponent into silence. These so-called SLAPP lawsuits are filed with the intent of squashing dissent or independent voices,” states a Sept. 17, 2011, Portland Business Journal article.

This week’s defamation readings point out, “Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim. But keep in mind that the truth may be difficult and expensive to prove.” This combined with the anti-SLAPP law probably saved Craig’s bacon in the end.

Question: Does knowing more about these laws encourage you to speak your mind or are you more hesitant now that you’re aware of the legal pitfalls in remixing, blogging or tweeting?

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