Adrianos Facchetti, a California “Internet Defamation Attorney,” writing the California Defamation Law Blog asks, among other things, if governments should regulate the Internet to control defamatory speech — however that might be accomplished.

I could only think of one response….

Well, OF COURSE the Internet should be regulated.  Isn’t that how America works these days?  How are we ever going to be a complete police state if we don’t start regulating speech?

Whenever someone doesn’t like something and they want to government to step in and regulate it notwithstanding the Constitution, they point out how things are different today to when the Founders first wrote the Constitution.  Because things are different, governmental authority needs to be different.  Since at least the 1990s, the best way to show this is to point out that today, we have the Internet.  The Internet is totally different from a broadside, or from rampant unsupportable rumors and hearsay burning through a town, province, or state such as existed…well, everywhere…in the late 1700s.

After all, defaming someone in a broadside, or starting a defamatory rumor that turned the entire town against them…well, that could only put someone out of business.

TODAY, we have the Internet!  A defamatory rumor on the Internet could put someone out of business!

See how different things are today?!

What is not different is the fascistic drive within many of us that makes it impossible to allow for the kind of freedom our Founders envisioned when they formulated the Constitution.  What is not different is the misguided specks of humanity who are incapable of recognizing patterns from the past and think that every “new” thing they don’t like is so totally new that it requires a complete re-casting of our societal mores and law.

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint” (Hesiod, 8th century BCE)

Children nowadays love luxury, have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for their elders. (attributed to Socrates, 5th century BCE)

What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV), probably 3rd century BCE)

Someone did something I didn’t like and it’s different from when other people in the past did things someone didn’t like. They did it using the Internet! The Constitution doesn’t apply! We need a new law! (about a brazilian people — with the same level of intellect as the person who allegedly thought “brazilian” was a really large number — since at least the rise of the Internet)

And several more brazilian before the Internet who thought the Constitution stood in the way of their being able to stifle speech they didn’t like.

The Internet may be bigger, but apparently our brains are getting smaller.

Uh-oh! Did I just defame an entire species?

9 comments

  1. A person thinking they need legal advice should talk to an attorney. I believe this is true even if a person does not have an actual legal problem. We are, after all, “counselors at law” in addition to being attorneys. Thus, it is appropriate for us to counsel people who think they have legal problems, even if they don’t.

    I sometimes meet with people who think they need an attorney. I listen to what they have to say, look over papers and then inform them that in my opinion they do not (or do not yet) need an attorney. In that case, I will give them advice on how to know when and how, considering the situation they brought to me, that might change. I make sure they have my number if something changes or they have more questions

  2. A person thinking they need legal advice should talk to an attorney. I believe this is true even if a person does not have an actual legal problem. We are, after all, “counselors at law” in addition to being attorneys. Thus, it is appropriate for us to counsel people who think they have legal problems, even if they don’t.

    I sometimes meet with people who think they need an attorney. I listen to what they have to say, look over papers and then inform them that in my opinion they do not (or do not yet) need an attorney. In that case, I will give them advice on how to know when and how, considering the situation they brought to me, that might change. I make sure they have my number if something changes or they have more questions

  3. A person thinking they need legal advice should talk to an attorney. I believe this is true even if a person does not have an actual legal problem. We are, after all, “counselors at law” in addition to being attorneys. Thus, it is appropriate for us to counsel people who think they have legal problems, even if they don’t.

    I sometimes meet with people who think they need an attorney. I listen to what they have to say, look over papers and then inform them that in my opinion they do not (or do not yet) need an attorney. In that case, I will give them advice on how to know when and how, considering the situation they brought to me, that might change. I make sure they have my number if something changes or they have more questions

  4. I have a disclaimer of my own: I am not a lawyer….

    Having said that, I should mention that I’m an IT person with years of experience working in education. If you are talking about posting information about minors, you should tread carefully no matter what. Forget the legality of what you are doing for a moment and consider the potential impact of what you have written and how this could impact the behavior of the girl in question. There have been instances where suicide has resulted from situations like this. You should consider leaving names out of it.

    Even though you published the content in a “private” area, you must consider anything that you write and post on the Internet to be subject to public exposure. Quite simply put, if even 1 person is allowed to read it, it could become exposed to the public at large simply by someone using copy/paste. What you have posted is no more secure than sending an email that could be forwarded.

    On a personal level you really need to assess what you intend to gain from writing about specific people by name and then weigh the risks versus the rewards. If the risk of venting your frustration online outweighs any potential rewards then perhaps finding another outlet would be wiser.

    Legal advice is important if you are in a legal situation but to me as an outsider it seems pretty clear that you need some solid personal advice urgently. Information posted on the Internet has a way of hanging around for a long time.

  5. I have a disclaimer of my own: I am not a lawyer….

    Having said that, I should mention that I’m an IT person with years of experience working in education. If you are talking about posting information about minors, you should tread carefully no matter what. Forget the legality of what you are doing for a moment and consider the potential impact of what you have written and how this could impact the behavior of the girl in question. There have been instances where suicide has resulted from situations like this. You should consider leaving names out of it.

    Even though you published the content in a “private” area, you must consider anything that you write and post on the Internet to be subject to public exposure. Quite simply put, if even 1 person is allowed to read it, it could become exposed to the public at large simply by someone using copy/paste. What you have posted is no more secure than sending an email that could be forwarded.

    On a personal level you really need to assess what you intend to gain from writing about specific people by name and then weigh the risks versus the rewards. If the risk of venting your frustration online outweighs any potential rewards then perhaps finding another outlet would be wiser.

    Legal advice is important if you are in a legal situation but to me as an outsider it seems pretty clear that you need some solid personal advice urgently. Information posted on the Internet has a way of hanging around for a long time.

  6. Maureen,

    Unfortunately, a blog comment space (i.e., here) is not the place to seek legal advice. As my blog disclaimer notes, this blog is not for providing particularized legal advice. (See http://www.rhdefense.com/blog/disclaimer/.) My writing of this blog and your reading of it (any blog for that matter) does not create any legal relationship which would be important to your obtaining legal advice. Not even participating in the comments section will do that.

    As I say in my disclaimer, each case is different, even when they look the same. Lawyers are trained to recognize minor things which might seem to be unimportant to non-lawyers, but which could make large differences in outcomes of cases.

    For this reason, if you think you have a legal problem, you might consider consulting with an attorney directly about your problem.

    Lastly, at least at this point in time, I practice only criminal defense law, juvenile defense law and drunk driving defense law primarily in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. (Sometimes, if someone is willing to pay, I also travel to other areas of California and the federal court system.)

    So unless you’ve been charged with a crime in a federal court or a California state court, I’m not the right attorney to handle your case anyway.

    But again, thank you for pointing out another way in which social networking sites can potentially have legal ramifications.

  7. Maureen,

    Unfortunately, a blog comment space (i.e., here) is not the place to seek legal advice. As my blog disclaimer notes, this blog is not for providing particularized legal advice. (See http://www.rhdefense.com/blog/disclaimer/.) My writing of this blog and your reading of it (any blog for that matter) does not create any legal relationship which would be important to your obtaining legal advice. Not even participating in the comments section will do that.

    As I say in my disclaimer, each case is different, even when they look the same. Lawyers are trained to recognize minor things which might seem to be unimportant to non-lawyers, but which could make large differences in outcomes of cases.

    For this reason, if you think you have a legal problem, you might consider consulting with an attorney directly about your problem.

    Lastly, at least at this point in time, I practice only criminal defense law, juvenile defense law and drunk driving defense law primarily in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. (Sometimes, if someone is willing to pay, I also travel to other areas of California and the federal court system.)

    So unless you’ve been charged with a crime in a federal court or a California state court, I’m not the right attorney to handle your case anyway.

    But again, thank you for pointing out another way in which social networking sites can potentially have legal ramifications.

  8. Maureen,

    Unfortunately, a blog comment space (i.e., here) is not the place to seek legal advice. As my blog disclaimer notes, this blog is not for providing particularized legal advice. (See http://www.rhdefense.com/blog/disclaimer/.) My writing of this blog and your reading of it (any blog for that matter) does not create any legal relationship which would be important to your obtaining legal advice. Not even participating in the comments section will do that.

    As I say in my disclaimer, each case is different, even when they look the same. Lawyers are trained to recognize minor things which might seem to be unimportant to non-lawyers, but which could make large differences in outcomes of cases.

    For this reason, if you think you have a legal problem, you might consider consulting with an attorney directly about your problem.

    Lastly, at least at this point in time, I practice only criminal defense law, juvenile defense law and drunk driving defense law primarily in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. (Sometimes, if someone is willing to pay, I also travel to other areas of California and the federal court system.)

    So unless you’ve been charged with a crime in a federal court or a California state court, I’m not the right attorney to handle your case anyway.

    But again, thank you for pointing out another way in which social networking sites can potentially have legal ramifications.

  9. I am researching information regarding a recent issue that has come about concerning my legal rights to posting blogs on MySpace. I recently posted a personal blog describing my son’s behavior and his toxic relationship with his on again off again girlfriend. I detailed descriptions of events that have occurred in my household concerning their relationship and how they violated household rules and regulations. This girls full name was mentioned in the blog as well as her Mother’s first name. Any information that was stated was factual to events that took place in my home, or information given to me by way of a very close friend of the girls mother. The Mother was angered when she was informed of this blog and telephoned my cell phone three times threatening to contact the police. My response back to her was all the information contained in the blog was true and accurate to my knowledge. She wants to threaten with slander and libel. I am so angered with her daughters behavior and blatant disrespect for myself as the homeowner I want to see her push this issue legally. I would love to have the general public acknowledge just what a disrespectful individual I have been dealing with for an ongoing time period. What are my legal rights in an issue as this. How much factual information can I post of events that have occurred in my home. This was a blog that was posted on my private MySpace profile. It just so happened a mutual friend of my son’s, who had friend requested me about a year ago had read the blog and informed this girl of the content of the blog. This in turn enraged her Mother and she started with flinging the slander libel statements. What this woman does not realize is I am so angered with the conduct of her daughter over a long period of time now, she should be glad I do not take out a billboard ad for her actions!
    Please advise me of where I can seek legal advice or information regarding a matter as such.
    Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely
    Maureen Skawski

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