Online Security

How to Legally Handle and Remove Online Defamatory Content

  • Online defamation is a threat to every individual, but it's especially damaging for businesses, professionals, celebrities and other public figures. The reach of the internet and exposure it provides makes the defamatory content or information a priority. One can try non-legal way, but in most cases, you will have to handle the situation legally to remove the content and to take action against the publisher or the instigator. As the renowned attorney Aaron Minc explains in an article," how to remove news articles from Google and the internet - Yes, it can be done." there is a legal system in place that can be utilized to handle such situations.

    The non-legal course of action.

    This involves conveying to the blogger or the author that the published information is incorrect and it may hurt you financially. You should furnish the correct information and subtly imply that the non-cooperation may result in legal action. You need to push for the complete removal of the defamatory content. At the least, they should remove your name and reference from the content, and if possible, the addition of a "noindex" tag to their HTML to prevent it from appearing in searches.

    The legal approach.

    Contrary to the direct approach, a court order will always make a website remove the defamatory content, in spite of the fact that the order will be typically against the author. You cannot take action against the website due to a federal law that's known as CDA or Communications Decency Act as explained by defamation specialist attorney Aaron Minc in an article," the dark side of the internet: How to remove defamatory online content.”

    The legal process involves presenting the court judgment against the author/poster to the website where the defamatory content is published. However, the first step is getting the court order. This requires you to file a lawsuit against the author/poster citing your legitimate claims. It may be difficult to identify the defendant or the poster/author of the defamatory content so, a default judgment can be obtained for the removal of the content.

    The court orders.

    As explained earlier, the defamed party has to target, the author or the poster of the defamatory content and get a court order against them. The defamatory statement in question should be declared defamatory and false in the court order. This is necessary to let the website know that the content in question published by them is unlawful and illegal.

    The court order must also address the removal of the content, Else the websites since they are not the defendant may not remove the content. A section mentioning the defamed party's request for the removal of the content from search engines like Google should also be included in the court order draft. Also, details should be included in the court order draft that may assist in the removal of similar or identical content that may appear on other websites in the future.

    All the legitimate website respects the court order and removes the defamatory content. Certain websites may not remove the entire post, in that case, the search engines like Google will be approached by your attorney to get the content removed from the search rankings. It goes without saying that a specialist attorney is a necessity to handle defamation cases or defamatory content removal cases.

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