Saturday, January 11, 2014

Court Rules to Unmask Anon Reviewers; Brian Boitano on Coming Out

Court Rules to Unmask Anon Reviewers

When I saw this on social media in several places I figured I'd share because the topic often hits close to home with authors, publishers, and readers. Evidently, seven people gave nasty reviews with fake names on Yelp about a carpet company. The carpet company is challenging the validity of these reviews because they claim the comments made in the reviews were contrived. In order to pursue this legally the carpet company needed real names and Yelp refused to provide them. And now they are all on their way to court, which means this could set a new standard.

That position notwithstanding, the court continued, the right to speak anonymously is not an absolute one: "Defamatory speech is not entitled to constitutional protection."

You can read more here. I'm bookmarking this one to see how it turns out.

I've been predicting things like this would eventually happen because so much of what happens online is so questionable it often takes advantage of freedom of speech as we've always known it and puts innocent people at risk. I've posted before how companies I've had work for me have asked me to leave good reviews for them because their competition left nasty fake reviews with fake names in hopes of hurting their business. And judges are catching on, so I think this is just the beginning of more to come.

I also think authors and publishers will become more litigious. 

Brian Boitano on Coming Out

This is stunning, because it's so emotional to many gay men who have considered coming out. It seems Brian Boitano's coming out statement last month was not planned and he only decided to do it moments before it was announced he would be part of the Olympic delegation, at the White House.

 Boitano said his decision to say "being gay is just one part of who I am" in a statement on Dec. 19 "literally came to fruition" moments before the White House announced the makeup of the delegation. 

"I don't feel that I can represent the country without revealing this incredible side of myself," Boitano said. "This is an important moment, and to represent my country in Russia, it's a platform that is so important for me."

You can read more here.

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