Defamation against a company often comes with a huge price tag. Experience tells us that if the company defamed is listed on the stock market, defamation on investors’ forums could influence shares prices and the ability of the board to raise investment. There is also evidence…Legal advice defamation against a company.
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“How would you like to have me – a qualified internet law solicitor – sitting in your office, waiting, “on call”, to leap to attention and give you my very best internet law advice, answer, or strategy any minute you need it, day or night?”
The problem: how to access important, good quality, up-to-date and free advice on online reputation management of your business when you need it.
The answer: A dedicated Internet Law Google search engine.
Here’s just a tiny sampling of the gems to be found in the dedicated internet law search engine:
1. I am a victim of online defamation – do I need an injunction?
2. What do I need to do to make my business compliant with recent changes in social media?
3. Why some bad reviews appear so high in search results?
2. The reason why I should not click on links to defamatory search results
3. What are the 5 most essential steps I need to follow when I face internet defamation against my business?
4. What are the dangers to my business in obtaining injunctions to stop online defamation?
5. What are the new laws about internet trolling and why are they relevant to my business?
6. Can a business be bullied online?
7. What type of court orders are best to avoid?
8. How can a website still be visible many years after it was deleted and how does this affect the way I should approach internet defamation?
9. How can I reduce the chances of defamation being committed by my employees?
10. What is the first thing that I need to do when an employee steals my customer list?
11. What sort of language and tone is best do use when responding to a derogatory online review?
12. The truth about removing defamatory webpages with SEO.
13. How to go about removing defamatory articles from complaints websites.
14. What is the very first thing I need to do if I find my business listed on a complaint’s website?
15. How do I find out who owns my company’s domain name?
16. What are the essentials of an effective corporate reputation crisis management strategy? – a blue print.
17. The three most important foundations of every cease and desist letter
18. Can Google be sued for displaying defamatory search results?
19. Is it possible for a listed company to sue a shareholder for defamation?
20. Why is it important to obtain disclosure orders against Go daddy from one particular court that is based in Arizona?
21. Is it worth suing a poser of defamation who uses investor’s forums to defame a listed company?
22. What exactly is a Google Bomb and how do I defuse it?
23. How can I tell if I am about to become the victim of an online reputation attack before the attack occurs?
24. What is the best method to respond to a defamation cease and desist letter?
25. What is the relationship between online reputation management and the use of social media?
26. I am a victim of defamation on the internet. Any advice?
27. Is a forum host liable for defamation that is being posted by the users?
28. Chat websites and blackmail – how not to become victim
29. What is the difference between a defamation lawyer and a social media lawyer?
The above is just a small sample of the questions you can ask me at any time, day or night.
I have put together the 5 must know tips that I strongly advise you should follow to help you in this time of crisis. If you follow these steps you will be 5 steps nearer to appropriately dealing with your defamation issue.
1) Be discreet. Try to tell as few people as possible about your internet defamation issue. The link containing the defamatory material will be ranked higher in search engines as a result of the number of people clicking on the link. This is why it is advised to not tell anyone as they may click on the link and make it more popular. This includes… read more steps on our new social media solicitor blog.
Internet Law Experts and defamation lawyer: What Should I Do If I Find My Business Listed On A Complaint Site? By Teresa Meek
Several services claim to help people manage their online reputation. But what do these apps actually do, and do they really live up to their claim? Teresa Meek investigates…
Fionn Downhill runs a digital marketing company; she thought her business was in good standing. Her customers seemed happy, and a Google search of her company produced accurate information and a list of her speaking engagements.
But one day she received an unsolicited email informing her that her company had been listed… Read More on UK Internet Law
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Being a defamation lawyer these days is challenging. I have been solving internet defamation issues both as a defamation lawyer and as a consultant for a good few years now.
Over the years I have noticed that there is a difference between the approach taken by traditional defamation lawyers to the one preferred by modern internet defamation solicitors to solving internet defamation issues. There is no good or bad here but at the same time, from the point of view of the client, the difference is enormous.
To a large degree, traditional defamation law and online defamation law are two different areas of law altogether.
This is why, sometimes, old-fashioned defamation advice in relation to internet defamation, could backfire in the sense that even if the case is won at court, the defamation may still remain and even increase in volume. This can hardly be good news for the defamation victim.
The traditional defamation lawyer’ work is more ‘textbook’ based, which means it follows well established legal principles of defamation law, some of which have become out-dated over the past few years.
Many of the traditional legal tools have hardly evolved over the past 100 years and they are being practiced by traditional defamation solicitors whose knowledge and understanding of the internet world is slightly greater than that of the average person on the street. After all, solicitors normally learn the practical aspects of their work from their supervising solicitor in the law firm and these tend to be very senior lawyers indeed, who might find the internet world a little bit overwhelming.
So what has changed? Why might traditional defamation legal solutions not be compatible with modern online defamation?
It is obvious, isn’t it, that before one attempts to resolve a problem, one must first fully identify and understand the causes of it and if these causes are not deeply understood, then one might find oneself in the place of a patient with a sore eye who goes to receive treatment from the most expensive and highly prestigious brain surgeon in town. With respect, brain surgeons know very little about sore eyes and the last thing you would want the brain surgeon to do, is to open your brain up to try to administer medicine to your sore eye. In such a case, one can expect nothing but general deterioration in one’s health with the original sore eye now constituting the least of one’s problems.
Over the past 100 years or so, the law of defamation has been developed by expert judges over countless court cases, mainly involving newspapers and book publishers. Broadly speaking, the playing teams who developed our defamation laws used to be very well read and highly experienced judges, a small number of newspaper publishing groups and a few highly paid lawyers, largely based in the City of London.
Pick up a text-book on defamation law in England and you will see that the same names of the parties involved in many of the defamation cases are repeated over and over again. The composition of the parties involved in defamation cases used to be almost set in stone and this is why reading a traditional defamation law text-book could feel like a Déjà vu. You read time and time again about the same judges, the same lawyers and the same defendants. It used to be a small world…. Now this has all changed.
When appearing in court on matters of online defamation, the players can hardly recognise one another any longer. As a result of the dramatic increase in defamation cases, the number of Judges who are sitting on such matters has increased. And because of the different nature of the modern online defamation, a new breed of defamation solicitor has started to emerge.
This new breed of online defamation solicitor is very different to the traditional defamation lawyer, who used to almost exclusively occupy the court rooms. The modern online defamation solicitors are highly technically skilled, are incredibly internet savvy and they tend to possess vast knowledge of IT related matters.
Modern online defamation solicitors pay a great deal of attention to the psychological aspects of online defamation. They build psychological profiles of offenders and some of them are even NLP trained, which means they can tailor an individual approach to each act of online defamation by analysing the personalities of the offenders and by then dealing with each and every one of them in a personalised and highly effective manner.
Modern defamation lawyers are increasingly entrepreneurial-like in their approach to solving the problem at hand.
They approach online defamation issues from legal, technical and entrepreneurial angles and their solutions are not necessarily confined to local legal issues but are much more versatile. They tend to focus on obtaining successful results and workable solutions for their clients, who primarily, want their reputational problem to disappear rather than seek damages.
This refreshing approach which is often taken by the modern online defamation solicitors is pretty much in line with the latest technical developments and is reflective of their client’s needs. They understand the fact that winning a defamation case through the courts, may not be sufficient on its own, for their client’s on-going online defamation problems to completely disappear or even not to reoccur soon after the legal battle was won.
This is another reason why modern online defamation solicitors spend so much of their time researching and genuinely trying to understand some of the underlying roots of each specific online defamation issue.
The use of personalisation by modern defamation solicitors, together with their ability to effectively communicate technical issues to their clients, makes it easier for them to find effective solutions to online defamation issues. And because of their deep-rooted understanding of the law as well as of technical matters, they are managing to develop personal relationships with key people in the social medial organisations and within the internet world, relationships which help them to affect the removal of websites, posts and comments with relative ease.
The ability to speak the same language and to effectively communicate with internet service providers is probably the most important asset of a modern online defamation solicitor because the reality is, that it is much cheaper and more cost-effective to facilitate the removal of material off the internet via dialogue than through legal action.
Lastly, many of the defendants who are now involved in online defamation cases are different in nature from their predecessors. In the past, most defendants in defamation law cases were editors of major newspaper titles, whilst currently defendants in online defamation cases are, generally speaking, normal people like your neighbour across the road who possesses very limited legal skills and experience.
They sometimes appear in court in person, without a lawyer to represent them but with a lot of passion instead. The defamation courts now allow litigants in person to even use video links, whenever regular travel to the court room is not practical for them.
Traditionally, the playing field where defamation was created was very small in size. Newspapers, textbooks and letters, mainly published in the UK used to provide the main source of defamation cases. The old players in defamation law cases were therefore acting within some sort of comfort zone, limited both in size and in scope. This allowed the traditional defamation law solicitors to develop expertise within a very limited field of the defamation law.
This has now changed because the scope of defamation law has been widening. An opportunity to defame exists almost everywhere you look: on websites, blogs, forums, social media, emails and other online forums. Furthermore, defamation can now be initiated from anywhere in the world and be transmitted instantly worldwide. Defamation law is no longer a local or a national matter. Very often it involves cross jurisdictional issues which means the modern online defamation solicitor must have a sound knowledge of multi-national laws.
Modern online defamation solicitors spend hours upon hours researching, studying and investigating their playing field and they must, in addition to having a sound understanding of the law, be vested with specific knowledge of how the online world works and operates. They must be able to speak the language, be fluent in the jargon and fully understand the way things work on the internet, as well as the mechanics which cause online defamation to be created and then spread across. And to enable them to keep up with the rapid changes that are occurring on the internet, modern online defamation solicitors must now possess a rare combination of skills, which include legal, analytical and technical and they must maintain these skills constantly afresh.
It is not surprising therefore that some of the old fashion defamation solicitors, who for many years had been successfully scoring time and time again within a ‘Mini Football field’, are finding it difficult now to keep up with this rapidly changing area of law.
Whilst traditional defamation solicitors have almost always enjoyed the benefit of being trained up by their firm’s experienced defamation law partner (hence the reason why lawyers from other, smaller practices have in the past found it difficult to enter this field of law), much of the knowledge and skills of the modern online defamation solicitors have been acquired independently and by sharing experiences with colleagues all over the world.
In other words, internet law and online defamation law are not subjects which are taught at law schools. They can only be mastered by constant usage and by plenty of practical experience.
One of the reasons why many modern defamation solicitors acquire their unique skills independently, is that there was no one around to teach them these skills, because these skills are not traditionally associated with solicitors’ work. They are not listed in legal textbooks and are highly technical. In fact, many of the special skills that effective online defamation solicitors must possess are not necessarily legal skills but are skills which did not really exist up until very recently.
These skills are not written (yet) into textbooks and neither are they taught on legal courses. Knowing your law well is one thing, but understanding the magic that makes pages appear on or disappear off the internet is a completely different matter so it is not surprising at all that some traditional defamation lawyers are finding it a bit difficult to adapt and participate in this new arena.
Goodbye Damages Hello Damage Limitation or The Trophy is not gold-plated any longer
Traditional defamation solicitors are lawyers not IT specialists, not SEO gurus, not detectives and very often not NLP trained. And because one can only teach what one knows, trainee solicitors in some traditional, corporate like law firms might not receive the opportunity to enhance skills which are not strictly speaking, regarded as legal skills.
Training in large law firms is normally confined to the legal matters and legal matters alone. Modern online defamation solicitors, on the other hand, have always enjoyed the freedom to learn, to study and to pursue knowledge, without the constraints that sometimes exist within old-fashioned law firms, whose focus tends to be directed more on the production of billable hours almost from day one.
This is why modern internet defamation lawyers can offer their clients much more than traditional thinking and traditional legal genius. They possess skills, which are not normally associated with traditional corporate-like, old-fashioned defamation solicitors. And furthermore, it is important to note that most victims of online defamation, regardless of the size of their organisations, are looking for an online defamation solicitor with technical, psychological, investigative and inter personal skills in addition to the traditional legal abilities.
Wining a defamation case for a client is without a doubt considered to be the ultimate result for most defamation solicitors. This is one of the reasons why highly expensive and emotionally charged legal proceedings on behalf of lucrative clients, have been the bread and butter of some of the old-fashioned defamation law firms. But this has now also changed.
Many victims of internet defamation are now measuring success by using a different formula altogether.
Because of the immediate and potentially disastrous consequences of online defamation to their businesses, (regardless of size), victims of online defamation, tend to measure success in relation to the speed by which their business can be brought back to normal operation.
Most victims of online defamation have little or no time at all for highly expensive and everlasting defamation trials. By the time their defamation trial comes to an end, there might be nothing left of their business reputation. It is no longer about damages: it is now about damage limitation.
Court actions for defamation could constitute a serious distraction for the entrepreneur who invariably understands that a lawyer, with even the greatest possible advocacy skills, cannot bring him his business reputation back following a successful defamation trial. Court actions for defamation are considered by most entrepreneurs as ‘last resort’ options.
This is why modern internet defamation solicitors tend to commit their various special skills to help solving their client’s immediate online defamation issues, whenever possible, outside the court room and it is now clear that what many victims of online defamation consider to be a good result is not only the fast disappearance of defamatory comments from the internet, but also the learning which follows from a successfully defeated online reputation attack and the help and support which they receive from their internet lawyer, which helps them build up new systems and processes to prevent or at least minimise future online reputation attacks on their business.
Written by: Yair Cohen
- €6,550 for lawyer defamed in letter (independent.ie)
- Internet Law Experts: One Very Effective Way to Deal with Defamation on a Complaint Website. (yaircohenuk.com)
- Restaurant owner found guily of defaming customer (Canada) (internetdefamation.co.uk)
How to describe that first shocking moment when you discover that the reputation of your business is being tarnished all over the internet with defamation? There’s really nothing else like it, and it is followed by sleepless nights and constant worry. For some business people whose reputation is attacked online, things will never be the same again. Internet defamation is painful.
Just imagine: As you lie awake wishing the problem would go away, instead, it is spreading like a cancer throughout the internet.
Who creates these treacherous, career-wrecking posts? It turns out that former employees and former business partners are responsible for many of them. Experience tells us that this group of people is often motivated by a strong sense of injustice and powerful emotions…Read more
Author: Yair Cohen
A powerful Google bomb does not necessarily need to be driven by an equally powerful force of bloggers and posters.
A Google Bomb, at its most effective and long-lasting form can sometimes be created from someone’s back room and provided the Google Bomb is sufficiently targeted, it can still cause enormous amounts of damage to its unsuspected victim. A simple form of a Google Bomb, or of a Mini Google Bomb can easily be created as in the example below:
Warning!!! Please don’t repeat at home.
A successful business consultant from Surrey, let’s call him John Smith and his wife Sandra Smith went through an acrimonious divorce, which left Sandra bitter to the extreme.
During the divorce, Sandra was not able to afford the same quality of legal representation as her husband, John which resulted in a poor legal settlement for her and for her children.
But once the divorce was over she took her case right to the ‘people’s court’, the internet where she ‘represented’ herself in front of many of John’s personal and business contacts.
Sandra went through a copy of John’s contact book and then sent each person on the contact list the following email:
Hi, this is about John Smith. I want you to do me a big favour and have a look at this information for me. This is really important.
Important information about John Smith – a liar
NOTE TO STUDENTS: FOLLOW THE ABOVE LINK John Smith – a liar
By Yair Cohen
Internet Law Experts is a trading name of Cohen Davis Ltd, an internet law specialist law firm which provides comprehensive and discrete online legal services to private individuals, and particularly to those who are in the public eye.
The law firm was established by Yair Cohen..
Contact Yair Cohen here.
Four years ago, when I initially set up the first Internet law department in the UK in my old law firm, Bains Cohen (now called Pinder Reaux) , people thought that an internet lawyer was one who gives legal advice over the Internet.
This is because in the UK there isn’t and there has never been an official area of law which is called “Internet law”. Today everyone understands what I do. Simply put, I get rid of bad or negative internet webpages.
Despite some great achievements, sometimes moving more than one hundred reviews in one go, my work has become more challenging each day because bad faith reviews and professional defamers become more sophisticated each day, making the distinction between an innocent review and outright defamation harder to make.
We have (virtually) traveled across the globe from Russia to the United States from Uzbekistan to Mexico from Turkey to Canada in our quest for solutions to our clients’ personal and business reputation problems. It is now obvious that internet defamation is actually a big business for many people who directly benefit from having outrageous reviews publish on their websites.
We call these people ‘The Complaints Barons’ because their websites which are dedicated to complaints/defamation sometimes become a breeding ground for blackmail and extortion. The ‘Barons’ have the power to remove articles from their website but they only agree to do so if you pay them money.
Internet defamation is used by some as a mean of extorting money (through PayPal mainly) and all is being done very openly and without fear of the law.
Over time, issues of internet defamation have started to become more and more urgent for my clients, mainly because of the speed by which internet search engines are now delivering search results, which means I have found myself acting more and more as a troubleshooter rather than a conventional lawyer. The law alone, cannot solve all the problems in the world and internet defamation has gone far beyond being a legal issue for many. Fighting it has become for them a matter of survival.
Internet defamation has now become such a specialist area requiring legal, technical and general people’s knowledge and understanding in order to get the most difficult internet law issues resolved.
Defamation against my company on forums
Read part 2 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Read part 3 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Read part 4 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Read part 5 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Get in touch here. Internet Law Experts Contact
By Yair Cohen
- Defamation against a company – Can shareholders sue the defamer for damages? (defamationagainstacompany.co.uk)
- Online defamation Crisis Management (defamationagainstacompany.co.uk)
- Defamation against a company – Can a company sue the defamer for damages? (defamationagainstacompany.co.uk)
- Defamation against a company (defamationagainstacompany.co.uk)
- Defamation against a company continued (defamationagainstacompany.co.uk)
- Defamation Against a Company is Damaging on Three Fronts. (defamationagainstacompany.co.uk)
On Monday 23 January 2012, a High Court Judge in London ordered INTERNET giant Google Inc. to disclose to a UK claimant, data and personal details which it holds in relation to a user who utilised Google’s Blogger to spread defamation against a UK based businessman.
Google was told to have information, which includes the blog owner’s user name, email address and IP address disclosed to Yair Cohen previously the boss of Bains Cohen who was acting for the claimant, who is fighting for defamatory content about him to be removed from the American based Blog.
Google will also need to supply information about the Gmail account associated with the creator of the Blog as well as other data which will help identify the anonymous user.
A further order to have a Claim Form against Google Inc. served outside the jurisdiction was also granted by the Judge, opening the possibility for a future injunctive claim against Google, as a party to defamation proceedings in the UK.
It is believed that this is the first time that such an order was granted by a UK court in relation to defamation proceedings concerning a UK based victim .
Google had 21 days to comply with the order.
Yair Cohen, the lawyer representing the Claimant, said: “This ruling may signal the beginning of a shift in the behaviour of internet users who can no longer be allowed to hide behind a cloak of anonymity. I am confident that we will now achieve the removal of the defamatory blog from Google’s Blogger.”
The Internet Law Centre for business
The speed by which you can have web pages listed on the first pages of Google could bring immediate and substantial amount of money to your business, literally overnight. The same speed however that leads to this immediate success could cause complete devastation to business owners who find that their reputation has been tarnished almost overnight.
The good news however, is that ‘easy come easy go’ normally works both ways which means it is possible to make negative reviews and defamatory web pages disappear to obscurity, where hardly anyone will ever view them. Speed and strength are keys to success and tasks of removal of negative reviews or defamatory web pages should not be undertaken half-heartedly.
The fact that almost everything on the internet is changeable and movable should be somewhat comforting to victims of online defamation, online reputation attacks and online harassment. Having the knowledge that nothing on the internet is set in stone gives people a real hope that their reputational issues could one day be resolved.
And if you are a victim of online defamation, online reputation attack or online harassment, you can also take comfort with the fact that search engine results are nothing but a function of volume, relevance and popularity – all of which can be created artificially by techniques such as Defensive Manipulation™ which tend to focus on demotion of internet web pages using all available means.
Furthermore, because of the very high volume of information which is posted daily on the internet, what appears to be a big problem today, could be made to disappear tomorrow and today’s hot topics are likely to have very little impact on future internet searchers. In fact, if you carry out an internet search on almost any subject matter, you will struggle to find internet pages which were posted before 2008.
And finally, a last bit of good news to victims of online defamation. Online reputation attacks and internet harassment. It appears that people are getting lazier by the day, when it comes to internet searches. Search results on the first page of Google receive 89% of the clicks, results on the second page receive 4.37 of clicks, results on the third page receive 2.42%, results on the fourth page receive 1.07% and results on the remaining pages receive a total of less than 1% of the clicks.
This means that on 93.3% of occasions, people find results which appear on the third page of the search engine irrelevant to their search, so in future they hardly bother to go that far.
This in fact is good news for anyone who suffers an online reputation attacks because it means that most online reputation attacks could be defeated or at least be pushed down to obscurity.
The owners of the Ballymascanlon House Hotel in Co Louth have taken a legal action for damages against internet giant Google alleging defamation of the hotel’s business and reputation via Google’s web search service.
It is alleged Google had permitted, since about March 14th 2011, the term “receivership” to automatically appear after the hotel’s trading name when a search is carried out in the autocomplete suggestions in the search bar. This suggested the hotel was in receivership or financial difficulty when it was not, the plaintiffs claim.