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Not acceptable

Bluefield, WV

#1 Mar 22, 2010
I want to know whom I need to contact to proceed with civil charges regarding slander on this site. I have individual's investigating slander towards me and my family. The people doing the slandering are posting names and facts that are very dangerous. I am going to the fullest extent of the law to follow through with this. People need to think long and hard before they start to post vicious lies about others on this site and ANY site that allows gossip. Obviously, they have no idea just how serious this is. These people are being tracked and will be served with civil suits. Think about it, you know who you are. Every post that is put on here is recorded and CAN BE TRACED to your computer and address.

“Achtung! In Nomine ist hier!”

Level 1

Since: Mar 10

Location hidden

#2 Mar 22, 2010
Well, good luck on this one. I've dealt with this same issue regarding certain members of my family. Problem is though, that if they are posting facts, then thats the loophole they are going to escape. I personally have a big issue with the posting of names of people doing drugs on this site. I just think what a person does in thier own home is basically thier own damn business and no one elses. And in addition to this, I don't think it's anyones concern who is sleeping with who etc.I could go on and on about it but why bother.
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#3 Mar 22, 2010
Not acceptable wrote:
I want to know whom I need to contact to proceed with civil charges regarding slander on this site. I have individual's investigating slander towards me and my family. The people doing the slandering are posting names and facts that are very dangerous. I am going to the fullest extent of the law to follow through with this. People need to think long and hard before they start to post vicious lies about others on this site and ANY site that allows gossip. Obviously, they have no idea just how serious this is. These people are being tracked and will be served with civil suits. Think about it, you know who you are. Every post that is put on here is recorded and CAN BE TRACED to your computer and address.
Slanderous and libelous speech can be pursued in a civil action against those you believe to be making the speech. However, financial harm must come from that speech, otherwise there would be no cause. It is hard to prove financial harm in terms of simple "gossip."

As far as being traced. It is true that TOPIX can find IP addresses for posts. However, due to privacy laws they can only do so for the express purpose of a criminal warrant. They will not help you sue someone. That is why we have free speech. If the thread is bringing together terrorists or conspiring to sell drugs, then they would hand that over to the authorities once they are asked by warrant to do so. Another issue is that what if someone is using WIFI on a laptop? Then the IP helps no one.

I understand that you are hurt by the things people are saying, but there is no grounds for a lawsuit here. Just call your local attorney and he will say the same. It is America, and we have free speech. If you did not lose money from that speech you cannot receive money.

My advice to you is report the posts to TOPIX for removal. They won't take you serious though until you pay the 19.99 for the removal.

good luck
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#4 Mar 22, 2010
Slanderous and libelous speech can be pursued in a civil action against those you believe to be making the speech. However, financial harm must come from that speech, otherwise there would be no cause. It is hard to prove financial harm in terms of simple "gossip."

As far as being traced. It is true that TOPIX can find IP addresses for posts. However, due to privacy laws they can only do so for the express purpose of a criminal warrant. They will not help you sue someone. That is why we have free speech. If the thread is bringing together terrorists or conspiring to sell drugs, then they would hand that over to the authorities once they are asked by warrant to do so. Another issue is that what if someone is using WIFI on a laptop? Then the IP helps no one.

I understand that you are hurt by the things people are saying, but there is no grounds for a lawsuit here. Just call your local attorney and he will say the same. It is America, and we have free speech. If you did not lose money from that speech you cannot receive money.

My advice to you is report the posts to TOPIX for removal. They won't take you serious though until you pay the 19.99 for the removal.

good luck

P.S. I forgot to mention last time. In order for it to be slanderous or libelous speech, you must also prove it to be untrue. Which is another difficult matter.

“Mellow”

Level 1

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#5 Mar 22, 2010
Not acceptable wrote:
I want to know whom I need to contact to proceed with civil charges regarding slander on this site. I have individual's investigating slander towards me and my family. The people doing the slandering are posting names and facts that are very dangerous. I am going to the fullest extent of the law to follow through with this. People need to think long and hard before they start to post vicious lies about others on this site and ANY site that allows gossip. Obviously, they have no idea just how serious this is. These people are being tracked and will be served with civil suits. Think about it, you know who you are. Every post that is put on here is recorded and CAN BE TRACED to your computer and address.
LOL...They obviously upset you. But you have no ground to stand on.
Jason

Marion, VA

#6 Mar 22, 2010
You assume that Topix must cooperate with the authorities. The better route to take is to sue the posters AND Topix. Why Topix? Because they do not police their own terms of use. Any UVA graduate would know that not all of the crap posted here is protected speech. Is it protected speech if I come on this site and state that you are molesting your own children? Is it protected sppech is I say that you have stolen from your employer? Hell no, it's not, and the people who come on here and lie about others would be well to review prior case law. Some of these idiots are going to get into a helluva lot of trouble....
bahahaha

Bluefield, WV

#7 Mar 22, 2010
you are obviously interested in seeing what others have to say about you and yours or you wouldn't be troling on here.
UVA Attorney

Southfield, MI

#8 Mar 22, 2010
Jason wrote:
You assume that Topix must cooperate with the authorities. The better route to take is to sue the posters AND Topix. Why Topix? Because they do not police their own terms of use. Any UVA graduate would know that not all of the crap posted here is protected speech. Is it protected speech if I come on this site and state that you are molesting your own children? Is it protected sppech is I say that you have stolen from your employer? Hell no, it's not, and the people who come on here and lie about others would be well to review prior case law. Some of these idiots are going to get into a helluva lot of trouble....
Since those are specific statements about a crime, then my point still stands. TOPIX will comply with state and federal warrants. I guarantee you.

I agree with you that you can sue TOPIX, however you still have to prove that the speech in question is untrue. That is difficult.

The burden of financial harm is another difficult hurdle. Unless you try to count the 20 dollars for each post removal. Like I said; call your local attorney, he will tell you the same thing. The other side will just continue the case for years, until the point is moot or you as the plaintiff run out of time/money. I am sure TOPIX has more of both.
Jason

Marion, VA

#9 Mar 23, 2010
Depending on the situation, it might very well be that the burden of proof is on the person who's posting, not on the person who is being lied about. For example, if I falsely accuse you of having an affair, it would not be incumbent upon you to prove that you're not having the affair. Instead, the burden of proof would be on the accuser who has defamed you and caused harm to your marriage(if such harm occurred). My point is simply that the people who come on to Topix and intentionally lie about people in order to damage their reputation. their careers, their marriages, etc. can be held liable for their actions. Too, Topix can be held liable because these statements are in violation of their terms of use yet the company does nothing to police its site.
Jason

Marion, VA

#10 Mar 23, 2010
bahahaha wrote:
you are obviously interested in seeing what others have to say about you and yours or you wouldn't be troling on here.
Is there anything wrong with a person coming on here and seeing if someone is lying about them in a public forum? Any reasonable person will do this. Are you worried about someone coming back on you for something you've said about him or her?
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#11 Mar 23, 2010
Jason wrote:
Depending on the situation, it might very well be that the burden of proof is on the person who's posting, not on the person who is being lied about. For example, if I falsely accuse you of having an affair, it would not be incumbent upon you to prove that you're not having the affair. Instead, the burden of proof would be on the accuser who has defamed you and caused harm to your marriage(if such harm occurred). My point is simply that the people who come on to Topix and intentionally lie about people in order to damage their reputation. their careers, their marriages, etc. can be held liable for their actions. Too, Topix can be held liable because these statements are in violation of their terms of use yet the company does nothing to police its site.
The most famous example that I can cite is Falwell v. Flint. Where Larry Flint ran a Campari ad and claimed that Rev. Falwell had sex with his own mother in an outhouse.

This case went all the way to the Supreme Court and they ruled that it was not slanderous or libelous speech and it was protected speech because it was so ridiculous that it could only be considered satire. Any night school attorney could argue the same here.

As far as TOPIX not policing their TOS. You should read the TOS before you claim they are at fault. It plainly says that it is NOT their responsibility. That is why they have the links above posts to report abuse or inappropriate. The TOS says it is the responsibility of the posters to flag inappropriate posts and if you would like a speedier decision you have the option to pay 19.99 for this service. The TOS is not an agreement that they will monitor the posts, simply a set of rules for posters to follow. They also make note, several times, that TOPIX cannot be held responsible for the content of the posts. I would love to defend them in any case brought against them, especially with the claims you are making. I doubt it would even get past the judicial review, depending on the state you filed the suit. It would be an easy case to defend.

UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#12 Mar 23, 2010
Jason wrote:
Depending on the situation, it might very well be that the burden of proof is on the person who's posting, not on the person who is being lied about. For example, if I falsely accuse you of having an affair, it would not be incumbent upon you to prove that you're not having the affair. Instead, the burden of proof would be on the accuser who has defamed you and caused harm to your marriage(if such harm occurred). My point is simply that the people who come on to Topix and intentionally lie about people in order to damage their reputation. their careers, their marriages, etc. can be held liable for their actions. Too, Topix can be held liable because these statements are in violation of their terms of use yet the company does nothing to police its site.
PS The burden of proof ALWAYS lies upon the one making the claim. I.E. the Plaintiff. The burden of proof is often associated with the Latin maxim semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit, the best translation of which seems to be: "the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges." This is a statement of a version of the presumption of innocence that underpins the assessment of evidence in some legal systems, and is not a general statement of when one takes on the burden of proof. The burden of proof tends to lie with anyone who is arguing against received wisdom, but does not always, as sometimes the consequences of accepting a statement or the ease of gathering evidence in its defense might alter the burden of proof its proponents shoulder. The burden may also be assigned institutionally.
Pat

Fairview, TN

#13 Mar 23, 2010
Sounds like UVA Attorney has the facts.
Jason

Athens, WV

#14 Mar 23, 2010
The Falwell case is very much different because it was a parody against a public figure; very few people who are lied about on this site are well-know to the point that they would be considered "public figures." Moreover, Topix terms of service are inadequate for warding off lawsuits. For example, if I own a whitewater rafting company and warn rafters of any associated dangers, I still do not escape liability if my company is negligent. Topix is negligent for not enforcing its terms of service and for creating a public nuisance. Finally, Topix has already lost a lawsuit regarding this issue. A good UVA attorney would be aware of Topix v. Lasher (2009).

I have no idea why anyone would condone the malicious actions of numerous posters on this site.
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#15 Mar 23, 2010
Jason wrote:
The Falwell case is very much different because it was a parody against a public figure; very few people who are lied about on this site are well-know to the point that they would be considered "public figures." Moreover, Topix terms of service are inadequate for warding off lawsuits. For example, if I own a whitewater rafting company and warn rafters of any associated dangers, I still do not escape liability if my company is negligent. Topix is negligent for not enforcing its terms of service and for creating a public nuisance. Finally, Topix has already lost a lawsuit regarding this issue. A good UVA attorney would be aware of Topix v. Lasher (2009).
I have no idea why anyone would condone the malicious actions of numerous posters on this site.
The Falwell case was a Supreme court decision, so the decision is proprietary upon protected speech and it's constitutionality. The fame of the person in question is not germane to the decision and its use in law today.

I just searched Lexus - Nexxus for a case called Topix v. Lasher and none exists. For one thing. If that case does exists then TOPIX is the plaintiff, otherwise it would be Lasher v. Topix and I searched both. Do you want to sue TOPIX or do you want them to sue you? Why would you cite a case that TOPIX has filed against someone else? Do you have a case number and a state filed? I would love to read over it.

I am simply trying to help you, but you keep attempting to insult me and that's fine. All I have to say is, where is your case, counselor? Have you filed yet? Have you called a real attorney in your area? Look, I argue for a living. I was doing a little research for a clerk in Salem and came across this thread. I feel bad for you, I understand that your feelings have been hurt and your think that justice is on your side, but you have no case. I am not condoning anything, just explaining law as it pertains here. Call an attorney, please. He/She will tell you the same.
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#16 Mar 23, 2010
OK. I searched Lexus Nexxus for ANY cases against Topix and I did find one: LESHER v Topix. However, the motion was simply for the IP addresses of the posters in question, which TOPIX gladly handed over after the judge's decision. Nothing has come out of it. See, if I am posting this from a hotel, coffee shop, or even a neighbors wireless then the IP means nothing. Here is a copy and paste of the case description:
On February 03, 2009, Mark and Rhonda Lesher filed a defamation lawsuit against anonymous messageboard posters on Topix.com . Self-described as "the world's largest community news site," Topix.com aggregates news articles and hosts messageboards for users to comment and discuss. According to the Leshers' petition, over 1,700 defamatory statements were made about them by anonymous posters on Topix.com . The 365-page petition includes 2,568 counts of defamation, libel per se and defamation per se against the anonymous users. The petition specifically identifies postings made under 178 different usernames, such as "lou," "Awareness," and "BUDWEISER." Because Topix messageboard users can post under multiple usernames and they can post under usernames previously used by others, the actual number of defendants in the lawsuit is uncertain.
According to the petition, the defamatory comments began "almost immediately" following allegations in April 2008 that the Leshers had sexually assaulted Shannon Coyle. Mr. Lesher is a practicing attorney and Coyle was one of his previous clients. Many of the allegedly defamatory comments crudely describe the Leshers as sexual deviants, molesters, and drug dealers. On January 15, 2009, a jury found the Leshers not guilty on all counts of sexual assault in relation to this matter, and they were subsequently acquitted.
On February 3, 2009, the Leshers filed suit against the anonymous Topix.com posters in the District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, the 348th District Court. Tarrant County is where the Leshers claim "a significant number" of the defendants are located, according to the "IP address locators" on Topix.com . In their petition, the Leshers allege that the defamatory comments "affected their reputations in the community as businesspersons and has significantly damaged their businesses." Additionally, the comments are alleged to have "created psychological, emotional and financial trauma for both plaintiffs."
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#17 Mar 23, 2010
CONT.

The Leshers did not file suit against Topix.com , nor did they request the offending postings be taken down. However, they did make an ex-parte motion requesting that an out-of-state subpoena be issued to Topix.com , in order to identify the anonymous posters. On February 04, 2009, Judge Dana Wormach of the District Court of Tarrant County Texas, the 384th District Court, issued an order granting the motion. The order requested issuance of a letter rogatory to the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California, where Topix.com is located.
According to Texas Lawyer, Topix.com CEO Eric Tolles was served with a subpoena on February 5. Texas Lawyer reports that Tolles is "willing to be reasonable in complying with the subpoena, even though requesting information for 178 names strikes him as 'fairly broad.'" Additionally, Tolles is quoted saying "all we're going to be able to provide them with is an IP address," which is just the first step to identifying the posters. The subpoena required the documents be produced by March 6, but according to Texas Lawyer, the Leshers have granted Topix.com an additional week to comply.
Judge Wormach's also ordered the Leshers to post notice of the subpoena "on the appropriate message boards on Topix.com ," so that any objections could be made before February 18. In a thread titled "Lesher v. Doe defamation lawsuit," William Pieratt Demond, who represents the Leshers, published notification of the lawsuit and the subpoena on Topix.com . Demond advised those making libelous postings to "cease and desist." Additionally, he offered "conditional immunity" to the first defendant who could provide the name, address, and telephone number of the poster using the pseudonym "lou." The offer did not extend to the user of the name "lou," users of thee other pseudonyms, or anyone in the Coyel family. Demond told Texas Lawyer that so far, no posters had come forward.
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#18 Mar 23, 2010
So there you go. That IS the closest anyone has come to being able to sue a poster from Topix. However, they still have yet to find the actual person posting. If the person making the allegations (Lesher) were not a practicing attorney himself. Then, I doubt even this case would have seen the light of day.
Princeton Girl

Beckley, WV

#19 Mar 23, 2010
I feel the same as you because the same crap is going on with me and my family & friends I think whoever is writting the crap on here ain't about nothing because they don't say who they are that is the first sign of them bein a lil bitches if it was me talking shit I would def same who Iam why run ur mouth if you don't have the ass to back it up I believe I know who's running there mouth about me&my family and I know who they are and I know they don't know what they r about to get themselfes into Another thing I am sick of this website letting ppl break the terms & policy if anyone knows a number or smtn to get ahold of them plz let me know we've done had to pay alot of money to get shit off of here when topix should get the ppl off here that r breaking their terms instead of us having to pay to keep our names off of the page it's crazy b/c I'v never been on this childess topix crap b/c it's for the shitt talking ppl who can't man or woman up to say it to our face thats how I feel & can't wait to get ahold of who's talking shit bout me!!!
UVA Attorney

Somerville, VA

#20 Mar 23, 2010
Both of you have now mentioned TOPIX not policing their TOS, but as I have said before they are not responsible for this. Here is what the TOS says:

"You acknowledge and understand that Topix may or may not pre-screen Content, but that Topix and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) in their sole discretion to pre-screen, refuse, or move any Content for any reason, including for example, content that is available via the Service. Without limiting the foregoing, Topix and its designees shall have the right to remove any Content that violates this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with the use of any Content, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such Content. In this regard, you acknowledge that you may not rely on any Content created by Topix or submitted to Topix, including without limitation information in Topix message boards and in all other parts of the Service."

The key phrase here is "not the obligation."

To the poster "Princeton Girl" by saying that you "can't wait to get ahold of who is talking.." is a physical threat, and a crime. It is ironic, because you are sharing your opinions about how people should not be allowed to do such things. Now, what is a bigger problem for TOPIX? Someone saying that someone else is a slut, or someone saying that they will do physical harm to someone else? TOPIX would pursue you, before they would pursue the ones you are complaining about.

For anyone that would like to read TOPIX TOS in full here is the link:

http://www.topix.com/topix/terms

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