Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
March 4 — Twitter Inc. wasn't required to unmask the identities of two anonymous users who posted allegedly defamatory comments about a music holding company because of the joking nature of the tweets and the fact that they were onetime comments, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held March 2.
Judge Laurel Beeler wrote that the disclosure of the speakers' identities for the merely distasteful comments would impede their First Amendment rights to anonymous free speech.
A plaintiff seeking to disclose the identity of an anonymous speaker must show that there is a real evidentiary basis for believing that the speaker caused real harm to the plaintiff and that the need for such disclosure outweighs the First Amendment rights of the anonymous speaker, the court said.
Plaintiff Music Group Macao Commercial Offshore Ltd., a holding company for music products brands, filed an action against anonymous Internet users who posted allegedly defamatory comments on Twitter about its company, employees and chief executive officer. Music Group subpoenaed Twitter to reveal the identities of the two anonymous accounts in order to serve the complaint on them. After Twitter failed to produce the identifying information, Music Group filed a miscellaneous proceeding to enforce the subpoenas.
The court said that Music Group didn't show a real evidentiary basis in its claim against the users for onetime comments that indirectly accused Music Group's CEO of tax evasion and concealing things inside his body while on international travel. These comments were merely rants from “someone with an obvious grudge” against the CEO, the court said.
A comment saying Music Group encourages domestic violence and misogyny demonstrates an evidentiary basis for Music Group's defamation claim, due to the plain defamatory nature of the remark, the court said. However, it added, a comedic video immediately following the tweet showed that the comment was intended as a joke.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)