Anonymity

Citizen Media Law Project and Berkman Cyberlaw Clinic Lead Amicus Effort to Protect Anonymous Online Speech in Illinois

Yesterday, CMLP and a number of media and advocacy organizations asked an Illinois appellate court for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in Maxon v. Ottawa Publishing.  The brief urges the Illinois Appellate Court for the Third District to protect the rights of anonymous Internet speakers by imposing important procedural safeguards before ordering disclosure of their identities. 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Swartz v. Does: Tennessee Court Protects Anonymous Speech Online

Last Friday, a circuit judge in Nashville, Tennessee ruled from the bench that the First Amendment protects anoynymous Internet speech and adopted the Dendrite International v. Doe standard for balancing the speaker's First Amendment right against the would-be plaintiff's right to legal redress for actionable speech.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Anonymous Blogging Guide

Thinking about launching an anonymous blog?  There are lots of reasons you might want to publish your blog or website anonymously. For example, publishing anonymously may protect you from retaliation by those who don't like what you write. We've seen plenty of bloggers harassed or fired from their jobs for what they've written.  In some places, what you write could even threaten your safety or lead to your arrest or detention.  

Subject Area: 

Thomas & Betts Corp. v. Does 1-50

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

05/12/2000

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Does 1-50

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of California, San Diego County

Case Number: 

GIC 748128

Legal Counsel: 

Paul Alan Levy & Alan B. Morrison - Public Citizen Litigation Group (for "WatchingTNB"); Charles A. Bird, Gregory D. Roper - Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP (for "WatchingTNB")

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

On May 12, 2000, Thomas & Betts Corporation, an electrical connector manufacturer, brought a John Doe lawsuit in California state court against several anonymous posters to a Yahoo message board about the company.  The company alleged that certain of the anonymous posters defamed the company and released its proprietary information. The court authorized Thomas & Betts to subpoena Yahoo! for identifying information. 

After notification from Yahoo!, one of the defendants, "WatchingTNB," filed a motion to strike the complaint under the California anti-SLAPP statute (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16) and to quash the subpoena.  In August 2000, Thomas & Betts dropped the case against all defendants and issued a joint statement with Public Citizen (WatchingTNB's counsel): 

Although Thomas & Betts believes it has a legitimate interest in investigating releases of non-public information, the John Doe litigation it commenced in California was not the best forum to address those concerns. As a result, Thomas & Betts decided to voluntarily dismiss its lawsuit and thereby put to rest any concern that the litigation might chill fair and open discussion of the company’s business. Public Citizen appreciates Thomas & Betts’s responsiveness to the concerns it raised.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Sienna/Johnson Development v. Calvin

Date: 

12/13/2005

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Chris Calvin; Committee for Responsible Development

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Fort Bend County District Court (TX)

Case Number: 

05-DCV-146667

Legal Counsel: 

John Keville - Lee Keller King

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued
Settled (total)

Description: 

In December 2005, Texas real estate developer Sienna/Johnson Development and its senior vice president Douglas Goff sued Chris Calvin and the Committee for Responsible Development (an organization co-chaired by Calvin).  Sienna and Goff alleged that Calvin posted critical comments about them on three community websites and used multiple pseudonyms to create a false impression of widespread community opposition to the developer's plans to build apartments near his home.  The complaint, filed in Texas state court, included claims for defamation, business disparagement, public nuisance, and tortuous interference with prospective contract.

In December 2006, the parties settled the case. As part of the settlement, they jointly moved the court to enter an "Agreed Permanent Injunction," which prohibited Calvin and his wife Amy from posting anonymous or pseudonymous statements about Goff, Sienna, or any of their partners, affiliates, directors, officers, or employees.  The agreed injunction specifically excluded "truthful critical statements" made in the Calvins' own names.  The court issued the agreed injunction and dismissed the case.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Docket available via search at http://tylerpaw.co.fort-bend.tx.us/default.aspx.  There's also a suit involving the same parties (07-CV-154927) listed as an "Accounts, Contracts, and Notes" case.  Presumably it's something tangental to the original suit -- nonpayment of some award or somesuch -- but worth checking out to make sure.

Source: Houston Chronicle 

Jurisdiction: 

Lesher v. Topix

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

02/03/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Topix

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, 348th District Court

Case Number: 

348-235791-09

Legal Counsel: 

Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

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."

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.

Update:

03/27/09 - The court denied Topix' motion to quash the subpoena.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Threat Source: 

Google News

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Virginia Blogger Invokes Reporter's Privilege to Challenge Subpoena Seeking Anonymous Commenters

Waldo Jacquith, the Virginia blogger targeted with an outrageously broad subpoena back in January (see my previous post), filed a brief last week arguing that he should not be required to turn over the IP addresses of those who viewed and commented on an article posted to his blog, as well as his email correspondence relating to the article.  Paul Alan Levy of

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Lesher v. Does

Date: 

02/03/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John and/or Jane Does, No. 1-178; Shannon Coyel; Gerald Coyel; James Coyel; Charlie Doescher; Pat Doescher; Apache Truck & Van Parts

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, 348th District Court

Case Number: 

348-235791-09

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$0.00

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced
Verdict (defendant)

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."

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.

Update:

03/27/09 - The court denied Topix' motion to quash the subpoena.

08/03/09 - ABC News reports that the Leshers amended their complaint to name Shannon Coyel, Gerald Coyel, James Coyel, Charlie Doescher, Pat Doescher, and Apache Truck & Van Parts as defendants.

04/24/12 - The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that a jury in Tarrant County awarded the plaintiffs $13.78 million in damages for libel against defendants Shannon and Gerald Coyel, and Charlie and Pat Doescher.

06/08/12 - The court granted a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, rendering judgment in favor of the defendant and ordering the plaintiff to pay defendant's court costs.


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/04/24/3909676/couple-smeared-online-win-lawsuit.html#storylink=cp

 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

4/27/12 - updated to add verdit, amended complaint AFS

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Google News

Subject Area: 

Maryland High Court Joins Growing Consensus Protecting Anonymous Speech Online

On Friday, the Court of Appeals of Maryland quashed a subpoena seeking the identity of five anonymous commenters and provided guidance to lower courts regarding what showing an aggrieved plaintiff must make before a court will order a website operator to reveal the identity of an anonymous commenter.  In Independent Newspapers, Inc. v. Brodie, the Maryland high court concluded that

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Doty v. Molnar (Subpoena to The Billings Gazette)

Date: 

01/01/2008

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

The Billings Gazette

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization
Media Company

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Montana Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Yellowstone County

Case Number: 

DV 07-022

Legal Counsel: 

Martha Sheehy - Sheehy Law Firm

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

Russell Doty, a former candidate for local political office in Montana, subpoenaed The Billings Gazette, seeking identifying information for three anonymous individuals who posted comments to an article on the newspaper's website in 2008 using the pseudonyms "CutiePie," "Always, wondering," and "High Plains Drifter."  Doty issued the subpoena in connection with a defamation lawsuit against his former political rival, Brad Molnar, in which he alleged that Molnar made false statements in 2004 concerning Doty's qualifications to run for office. 

Doty alleged that Molnar was one of the pseudonymous posters (Molnar denied this in a deposition), and that the other posters might serve as witnesses about the harm to his reputation caused by Molnar's 2004 statements.  The Billings Gazette filed a motion to quash the subpoena, arguing that Montanta's shield law protected it from having to disclose the commenters' IP and email addresses. 

On September 3, 2008, Judge Todd Baugh of Montana's 13th Judicial District granted the motion to quash, ruling that Montana's shield law protected the commenters' identifying information.  Montana's shield law says that a news organization or any person "connected with or employed by [a news organization] for the purpose of gathering, writing, editing, or disseminating news” may not be required to "disclose any information obtained or prepared or the source of that information . . . if the information was gathered, received, or processed in the course of [a reporter's] employment or [a news organization's] business."  Mont. Code § 26-1-902(1).  Judge Baugh agreed with the Gazette's argument that this language is broad enough to encompass data gathered when a newspaper website user posts a comment. 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

iXL Enterprises v. Doe

Date: 

11/13/2000

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Does 1-10

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia

Case Number: 

2000CV30567

Legal Counsel: 

Jeffrey Sodko, Robert Giolito, Paul Alan Levy, Allison Zieve, Alan B. Morrison

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

iXL Enterprises, an Internet consulting company, sued to obtain the identity of an anonymous internet poster who criticized the company on a Yahoo! message board.  iXL claimed that the defendant was an iXL employee, and that the internet postings violated his/her employment agreement.   

iXL obtained a subpoena to force Yahoo! to reveal the identity of the anonymous user.  The Doe defendant moved to quash the subpoena, arguing that he/she was not an iXL employee and that the First Amendment protected his/her right to speak anonymously.  According to cyberSLAPP.org, "the case was not pursued to decision" because iXL went out of business. 

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Texas Judge Orders 178 Anonymous "John Does" Who Posted on Topix Be Revealed

Once again, the right to anonymous speech is being tested, this time in Texas, where a judge has ordered news portal Topix.com to reveal the identities of 178 forum posters accused of defaming a Texas attorney and his wife.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Juicy Campus Dies - Holmes' Posse Rejoices

Juicy Campus -- often the target of anti-free-speech types in higher education has died. And I am glad.

Subject Area: 

Sinclair v. Democratic Underground

Date: 

04/01/2008

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Democratic Underground; Digg.com; Google, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization
Large Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-00434

Legal Counsel: 

Paul Alan Levy - Public Citizen (for mzmolly and Democratic Underground)

Publication Medium: 

Forum
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

In March 2008, Lawrence Sinclair sued three pseudonymous Internet users -- TubeSockTedD, mzmolly, and Owningliars -- for defamation in federal district court in the District of Columbia. 

In late 2007/early 2008, Sinclair published a YouTube video and blog claiming that he had engaged in sexual activities and done drugs with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. This sparked a vociferous response from many Internet users, who criticized Sinclair and challenged his claims about Obama. 

According to court documents, one such Internet user, "TubeSockTedD," allegedly posted a video on YouTube that stated "Larry Sinclair is Spreading Lies About Obama."  Days later, another Internet user going by "Owningliars" allegedly posted a statement on Digg.com, linking back to an unspecified video, urging readers to watch it as "proof" that Sinclair was lying, and stating that Sinclair was in a mental hospital when he claimed to have met Obama.  Later still, another Internet user going by "mzmolly" allegedly posted a comment on a forum on Democratic Underground, repeating the claim that Sinclair was a former mental patient.

After Sinclair filed suit, he subpoenaed Democratic Underground, Google, and Digg seeking identifying information about the pseudonymous defendants.  Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen, representing both mzmolly and Democratic Underground, objected to the subpoena in a strongly worded letter. Sinclair then moved to compel Democratic Underground to disclose mzmolly's identity, and both mzmolly and Democratic Underground opposed the motion to compel, arguing that First Amendment protection for anonymous speech shielded mzmolly's identity from disclosure under the circumstances. 

In February 2009, the district court issued an opinion denying the motion to compel and dismissing the complaint in its entirety.  The court held that Sinclair was not permitted to compel the identification of the three pseudonymous defendants because he could not meet the heightened standard required by the First Amendment.

Specifically, the court held that Sinclair's complaint was facially invalid because it did not plead facts necessary to establish the court's subject-matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction over the pseudonymous defendants.  In addition, the court ruled that Sinclair's defamation claims failed as a matter of law because he did not plead either actual malice or special damages, and because section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protected mzmolly and Owningliars for "simply summarizing and reporting information obtained from" a third party.

Although it quashed the subpoena and dismissed the complaint, the district court refused to award mzmolly and Democratic Underground sanctions against Sinclair because of the novel areas of law involved. 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

There are tons of other motions filed in this case; Sinclair has attempted to subpoena Digg and Google alongside the others, and various memos and responses have gone back and forth on these and other issues. Whoever looks at this may want to look through to see what is interesting in these -- or see what others around the web have picked out of them. {MCS}

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Public Citizen

Sinclair v. TubeSockTedD

Date: 

03/13/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

TubeSockTedD; Mzmolly; Owningliars

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-00434

Legal Counsel: 

James R. Klimaski - Klimaski & Associates, P.C., Ray Beckerman - Ray Beckerman PC (for TubeSockTedD); Paul Alan Levy - Public Citizen (for mzmolly and Democratic Underground)

Publication Medium: 

Forum
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)
Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

In March 2008, Lawrence Sinclair sued three pseudonymous Internet users -- TubeSockTedD, mzmolly, and Owningliars -- for defamation in federal district court in the District of Columbia. 

In late 2007/early 2008, Sinclair published a YouTube video and blog claiming that he had engaged in sexual activities and done drugs with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. This sparked a vociferous response from many Internet users, who criticized Sinclair and challenged his claims about Obama. 

According to court documents, one such Internet user, "TubeSockTedD," allegedly posted a video on YouTube that stated "Larry Sinclair is Spreading Lies About Obama."  Days later, another Internet user going by "Owningliars" allegedly posted a statement on Digg.com, linking back to an unspecified video, urging readers to watch it as "proof" that Sinclair was lying, and stating that Sinclair was in a mental hospital when he claimed to have met Obama.  Later still, another Internet user going by "mzmolly" allegedly posted a comment on a forum on Democratic Underground, repeating the claim that Sinclair was a former mental patient.

After Sinclair filed suit, he subpoenaed Democratic Underground, Google, and Digg seeking identifying information about the pseudonymous defendants.  Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen, representing both mzmolly and Democratic Underground, objected to the subpoena in a strongly worded letter. Sinclair then moved to compel Democratic Underground to disclose mzmolly's identity, and both mzmolly and Democratic Underground opposed the motion to compel, arguing that First Amendment protection for anonymous speech shielded mzmolly's identity from disclosure under the circumstances. 

In February 2009, the district court issued an opinion denying the motion to compel and dismissing the complaint in its entirety.  The court held that Sinclair was not permitted to compel the identification of the three pseudonymous defendants because he could not meet the heightened standard required by the First Amendment.

Specifically, the court held that Sinclair's complaint was facially invalid because it did not plead facts necessary to establish the court's subject-matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction over the pseudonymous defendants.  In addition, the court ruled that Sinclair's defamation claims failed as a matter of law because he did not plead either actual malice or special damages, and because section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protected mzmolly and Owningliars for "simply summarizing and reporting information obtained from" a third party.

Although it quashed the subpoena and dismissed the complaint, the district court refused to award mzmolly and Democratic Underground sanctions against Sinclair because of the novel areas of law involved. 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

There are tons of other motions filed in this case; Sinclair has attempted to subpoena Digg and Google alongside the others, and various memos and responses have gone back and forth on these and other issues. Whoever looks at this may want to look through to see what is interesting in these -- or see what others around the web have picked out of them. {MCS}

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Public Citizen

Juicy No More

You know the economy's bad when even college rumor-mongering isn't making a profit any more.  That's right, JuicyCampus.com, the website dedicated to anonymously posted collegiate gossip, has closed up shop.  In a post announcing the shutdown, Matt Ivester, the founder and CEO, put the blame on "these historically difficult economic times,&q

Subject Area: 

Chicago Developer Shovels Out Subpoenas by the Bucketful Over Wilson Yard Redevelopment

We are still trying to get to the bottom of this one, but it appears that a real estate developer in Chicago has subpoenaed information from four websites that have criticized efforts to redevelop Wilson Yard in downtown Chicago.  The redevelopment work is the subject of a lawsuit filed in Decembe

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Koury v. Doe

Date: 

01/30/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe, Joeyondalls

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Macomb County Circuit Court (Michigan)

Case Number: 

2009-000470-CZ

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Warren, Michigan commissioner David Koury filed a defamation lawsuit against an anonymous Internet user who criticized him in online forum postings.  According to a Macomb Daily report, the complaint does not specify the message board(s) that contain the allegedly defamatory statements.  Koury reportedly plans to subpoena web hosts and ISPs related to the message board(s) in order to obtain information about the anonymous poster.

UPDATE

On 5/11/2009 the court granted Koury's motion for sanctions against Jane Doe, aka "Joeyondalls" and his/her attorney. It appears that Doe moved for a motion to quash the the subpoena because he/she had not been served. On 4/24/09 Koury presented evidence of service. 

Threat Source: 

Google News

Priority: 

1-High

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

Practically no information on this case is available as of 02/04/2009.  Worth watching for updates. {MCS}

avm 6/10/09 - still not a lot of information but added info about sanctions and the handle of doe

Virginia Blogger Targeted With Outrageous Subpoena

In perhaps the most blatant misuse of the subpoena power we've seen since the subpoena served on Kathleen Seidel of Neurodiversity last March, a lawyer for Thomas Garrett of Virginia has served a patently overbroad subpoena on blogger Waldo Jaquith, who publishes cvillenews.com, a community news blog about Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Pages