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Options for legally addressing cyberbullies, internet trolls, etc

Started by Phil Bunch, Wed, 26 Aug 2009 14:35

Phil Bunch

I thought this article might be of interest to those who share my aversion to internet trolls, etc, who anonymously plague our lives from time to time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/opinion/26dowd.html?ref=todayspaper&pagewanted=print

However, the legal system in the USA is so expensive and so slow and frustrating, it would take strong nerves and endless patience to literally pursue a lawsuit to trial.  However, it's very common for someone who is guilty to accept an out-of-court settlement.  Only a tiny percentage of lawsuits actually go to trial since trials are incredibly expensive (for both sides) - in the US the legal expenses of the offended person are not usually paid by the guilty person.  Usually, a lawyer will simply write a letter to the offending person and begin the settlement negotiations and that alone will usually stop the nonsense if that's all one wants.  A signed agreement to "cease and desist" would probably be a part of any monetary or non-monetary settlement.

Apparently it's fairly straightforward in the US to legally compel internet service providers to give up their logs and records in such situations, thus providing the identity of the offending troll or whatever.

We've been very fortunate in only having a troll siege relatively infrequently.  May they stay away forever!
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch