Blogger fined 11 million dollars for posting facts
disguised as opinions
By Donald K. Burleson
Web Stalkers: Protect yourself from
Internet Criminals & Psychopaths,
$19.95 by Rampant TechPress.
The United States courts are finally cracking-down on people who
post false allegations about people on blogs, message boards and
char rooms. While the First Amendment allow complete freedom
of opinion, the courts have ruled that you cannot "couch" a factual
allegation with a preface like "I heard that" or "In my opinion".
For details on the nuances of internet libel, see the book "Web
If you allege that a person is a "fraud", a "crook" or a "con
artist", it is not your opinion, it's a statement of fact, and you
had better be prepared to prove it in a court of law.
In England, nasty remarks are crimes if they are found to be
"inflammatory", as this case where a man was sentenced to
3 years in prison for posting inflammatory remarks on a web
"Judge Henry Globe QC, the recorder of Liverpool, told
Martin: "The intention of the website was innocent, honourable
and well motivated.
"You accessed that website and you abused its use. You posted
highly abusive, insulting and racist messages on the site."
notes that a jury has awarded 11.3 million dollars against a blogger
who committed libel against an innocent woman by posting that she
was a "crook," a "con artist" and a "fraud" on an internet message
“Scheff, who bills herself as an
educational consultant, "tried to do something to help other parents
and she wound up sort of being the object of hateful and vindictive
statements," Pollack said. Scheff and her company sometimes get paid
for their referrals.
The message of the verdict "is you just
can't go out there on these blogs and slander and defame people
without having any facts to substantiate what you are stating,"
I have more notes on these important blogger libel issues here: