No More Hiding Behind Cover of the Internet

No More Hiding Behind Cover of the Internet

The New York Supreme Court decision sets out what plaintiffs must show in order to obtain an anonymous blogger’s identity.   The action sought to compel Google and subsidiary Blogger.com to identify the person who posted weblogs containing allegedly defamatory statements about the petitioner, a fashion model. The blogger posted multiple weblogs that included provocative pictures and language implying sexual promiscuity about Liskula Cohen. The model, who has appeared in such prominent fashion magazines as Elle and Vogue, was repeatedly referred to in five blog posts using vulgar sexual slang terms. Cohen claimed the blogs constituted defamation per se because they impugned her chastity and negatively reflected on her profession as a full time model.
The opinion written by Judge Joan Madden, found merit to Cohen’s claim seeking the bloggers identity.  The court rejected the blogger’s assertion that Cohen failed to demonstrate a meritorious claim of defamation, stating that “courts traditionally require a strong showing that a cause of action exists,” when a party seeks pre-action disclosure to identify the proper defendant. Matter of Uddin v. New York City Transit Authority, 27 AD3d 266 (1st Dept. 2006). The court went on to conclude that the petitioner was entitled to pre-action disclosure of the blogger’s identity because she sufficiently established the merits of a proposed cause of action for defamation, which include a false statement, published without privilege or authorization, to a third party, constituting fault or negligence and causing harm. Google and subsidiary Blogger.com were ordered to provide the blogger’s identity, address, e-mail, IP address, telephone number and all other relevant information that would assist Cohen in ascertaining the blogger’s identity.
 
By Lori Webster Sieron
Lexs Hub Staff