A Twitter Exception for Defamation?

19 05 2012

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

. . . . My read of the situation is that it’s too early to tell whether courts are more apt to view statements online (and on Twitter) as more likely to be opinion than fact. Courtney Love’s lawyers telegraphed that they would rely on a defense along these lines, but the case never went to trial so a court hasn’t squarely addressed the question and addressed some of the surrounding issues. (As reported by Eriq Gardner, the court tentatively dismissed Love’s defense: “Judge Rejects Courtney Love’s Defamation Theories in Twitter Lawsuit.”) For other cases relying on this theory in the context of online posts, in addition to Sandals Resorts, see DiMeo v. Max and Finkel v. Dauber.

One question this raises, is: what perspective does the court use when it evaluates context and makes the determination of whether something is hyperbole or would reasonably be viewed as a statement of fact?


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