Internet Defamation Suit Tests Anonymity - Yale Females Have A Right To Sue for Slander

Last year, two women at Yale Law filed on suit that included subpoenas for 28 anonymous users of a website that has consistently attacked and defamed them. From the Reuters report:

Some posts made false claims about her academic record and urged users to warn law firms, or accused her of bribing Yale officials to gain admission and of forming a lesbian relationship with a Yale administrator, the court papers said ... The plaintiff said she believes the harassing remarks, which lasted nearly two years, cost her an important summer internship. After interviewing with 16 firms, she received only four call-backs and ultimately had zero offers -- a result considered unusual given her qualifications.

Defendants in Internet defamation actions will claim that revealing identity for the purpose of a defamation suit is not necessary and, in fact, is a violation of their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

Of course, we know there is no reason to hide if the truth is spoken. Those who hide their identities online cry First Amendment usually because they are lying, and they wish to obscure their true motivations. Otherwise, why resist so doggedly? Why demand a First Amendment right to slander others for purposes of utterly ruining them?

In this case, I affirm freedom and responsibility. If your speech online affects the personal lives of others in a negative way, and taints the way they are perceived, then be up front, or else shut up.

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