08-02-12 07:03 AM
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  1. terminatorx's Avatar
    I've been wondering about this lately. Let's say someone is consistently posting derogatory and defamatory comments against a particular company even while using an online alias, can that person be held liable for damages in any way?

    The reason I am asking is because I will read articles relating to any RIM news on some national newspaper sites, and there are groups of certain users who are always bashing RIM on every article. It's always the same folks, and they are always on the assault against RIM.

    These people will post multiple times on a repeating, daily basis, as though they are on a mission of some sort. There are certain individuals I have seen who will even consistently make bad comments about RIM on non-RIM related articles. It's always the same group of users, and I am convinced that there has to be something wrong with these people on multiple levels. It's not clear if they are unhappy investors, ex-employees or just fanatics of other brands, but it's clear as glass that they have taken a personal vendetta against the company. I find it a little distressing, and also get very annoyed at their constant negative vitriol.

    Can people like this be sued for defamation of a company? I also wonder why some of these newspaper organizations don't ban those users from their systems.
    Last edited by terminatorx; 07-23-12 at 11:42 PM.
    thymaster likes this.
    07-23-12 11:39 PM
  2. SCrid2000's Avatar
    Probably not. There's that whole free speech thing.
    #not legal advice#
    Even if they could, as a practical matter, filing suits against users is bad for business. Successful* companies just patent everything and sue competitors.

    *pathetic POS companies.
    07-23-12 11:55 PM
  3. Roo Zilla's Avatar
    You have to separate opinion from defamation. For example, if I say "Heins is a moron," that's just opinion, and there is no jury that will disagree. If on the other hand, I say, "Heins is a child molester," and I concoct fake evidence proving such and a reasonable person actually believed it, then Heins would indeed be able to sue me for slander.

    If RIM felt that the the libel affected their business, they would also be allowed to sue me, but that's very difficult to prove. Again, you have to separate opinion from libel. Simply saying variations on "RIM sucks" is just opinion and protected by free speech. They would have to prove that what I said is indeed libel, and that's not easy. They would also have to come up with direct evidence that what I said affected their business, and that might actually be even more difficult. For example, if i wrote something like "RIM supports Al Qaeda", and the next day, sales plummeted by 50% as the statement spread like wildfire over media outlets and everybody in the world believed what I said, then RIM would probably succeed in a libel suit, but only if they could prove that they indeed do not support Al Qaeda.

    EDIT: Also, one other thing. A lie is not sufficient to be cause for libel if a reasonable person doesn't believe it's true. The most famous example of this was Hustler Magazine vs. Falwell, made famous by the movie People vs. Larry Flynt. You can tell the most outrageous lies, but as long as it's something that a reasonable person doesn't believe, it's not libel. For example, I can say United Airlines is unsafe because it crashes 1000 planes a day, and obviously, no reasonable person in the world would believe it since we don't have constant news flashes describing yet another plane crash.
    Last edited by Roo Zilla; 07-25-12 at 12:26 PM.
    07-24-12 12:18 AM
  4. SCrid2000's Avatar
    Lol, I wasn't going to get that deep into it, but...
    Since RIM is a public "figure" (corporations are people too), they would likely have to prove malice. That would be even more difficult in the case of the trolls than any sort of damages.
    There's also libel per se in some jurisdictions, which may or may not be negated by the public figure question (again depending on jurisdiction).

    So to skip all the maybes, possiblys, and whatsits of any legal advice on even the simplist question, in a word...

    No.

    *definitely not legal advice*
    07-24-12 12:24 AM
  5. Masahiro's Avatar
    RIM suing "trolls" will probably only cause more PR damage than it will solve, and quite frankly, they should just be focusing on getting BB10 finished and out the door.
    bungaboy likes this.
    07-24-12 12:34 AM
  6. BBPandy's Avatar
    Have you also noticed that often the same staments are copy & pasted by these individuals across various sites?
    PR companies have been known for hiring people to go out & either praise or bash a certain company or product online. The problem is that it's hard to prove who these people really are, & then even harder to prove that they were paid to post it. If RIM were to go after these people the only result would be more bad PR for them, & these people know that
    07-24-12 02:38 AM
  7. hurds's Avatar
    Come on now, we all know 'RIM is exactly where they are because of themselves and anything negative said about them is deserved'.

    I'll put that so the usual suspects don't have to. Now where are my likes!
    07-24-12 03:07 AM
  8. cgk's Avatar
    There was a case a little while ago about a guy who killed a company because he was publishing very detailed but very false information about their financial health. I seem to remember he was imprisoned - anyone know the actual case?

    Having said that, this thread is beyond silly - who is going to do the suing? Is RIM going to start tracking down and suing forum members? It would just increase the bad press.
    07-24-12 03:15 AM
  9. bitek's Avatar
    I've been wondering about this lately. Let's say someone is consistently posting derogatory and defamatory comments against a particular company even while using an online alias, can that person be held liable for damages in any way?

    The reason I am asking is because I will read articles relating to any RIM news on some national newspaper sites, and there are groups of certain users who are always bashing RIM on every article. It's always the same folks, and they are always on the assault against RIM.

    These people will post multiple times on a repeating, daily basis, as though they are on a mission of some sort. There are certain individuals I have seen who will even consistently make bad comments about RIM on non-RIM related articles. It's always the same group of users, and I am convinced that there has to be something wrong with these people on multiple levels. It's not clear if they are unhappy investors, ex-employees or just fanatics of other brands, but it's clear as glass that they have taken a personal vendetta against the company. I find it a little distressing, and also get very annoyed at their constant negative vitriol.

    Can people like this be sued for defamation of a company? I also wonder why some of these newspaper organizations don't ban those users from their systems.
    I see where you are coming from but at the end who cares about those trolls. People make their decisons based on personal experience not what other people think or write. I have firm believe that many of those who have switched to competition will try new bb phones will come back to new bb phones.



    Sent from my BlackBerry Playbook using Tapatalk 2
    07-24-12 03:38 AM
  10. daveycrocket's Avatar
    Difference of opinion is healthy, unfortunatly sometimes it can go too far. But would we really want to shackle ourselves with legal issues, usually what goes around comes around.
    Often maturity is the best regulator.
    Masahiro and bungaboy like this.
    07-24-12 03:46 AM
  11. JasW's Avatar
    I've been wondering about this lately. Let's say someone is consistently posting derogatory and defamatory comments against a particular company even while using an online alias, can that person be held liable for damages in any way?

    The reason I am asking is because I will read articles relating to any RIM news on some national newspaper sites, and there are groups of certain users who are always bashing RIM on every article. It's always the same folks, and they are always on the assault against RIM.

    These people will post multiple times on a repeating, daily basis, as though they are on a mission of some sort. There are certain individuals I have seen who will even consistently make bad comments about RIM on non-RIM related articles. It's always the same group of users, and I am convinced that there has to be something wrong with these people on multiple levels. It's not clear if they are unhappy investors, ex-employees or just fanatics of other brands, but it's clear as glass that they have taken a personal vendetta against the company. I find it a little distressing, and also get very annoyed at their constant negative vitriol.

    Can people like this be sued for defamation of a company? I also wonder why some of these newspaper organizations don't ban those users from their systems.
    Are you new to teh Interwebs? This kind of thing has been going on for a long time, not just with companies, but with all kinds of things. There are tons of news sites whose comments sections are overrun with the worst, most insidious kinds of racist posts that no one would ever verbalize in public, or probably even in private.

    Trolls R Everywhere. And with their horribly unrealistic and negative opinions.

    RIM is not alone, although it may seem that it has more than its fair share of over the top detractors. For example, and I'm sure most of us have seen him, there is a poster on a number of tech sites named "AppleSucksFatties" who is a big RIM fan and is insanely anti-Apple.

    In any event, as to the law, it's not going to happen, and it couldn't. To state a cause of action for libel (which is a written defamatory statement) against a corporation, you must show that the person made a false and defamatory statement with actual malice, resulting in damages. So RIM would have to prove not only that the statement was false and were made with malicious intent, but that the statement caused RIM actual damages.

    How can you show that one person's statement(s) caused a company the size of RIM actual damages (assuming you can show that the statement was in fact false, and was made with actual malice)?
    07-24-12 06:31 AM
  12. brucep1's Avatar
    Not if what they write is true.
    mikeo007 and rdkempt like this.
    07-24-12 06:59 AM
  13. TgeekB's Avatar
    We are such a sue happy society that it doesn't surprise me that someone thinks this.
    bungaboy likes this.
    07-24-12 07:29 AM
  14. lnichols's Avatar
    I'd say the only way to sue for something like that would be if it could be proven that they were getting paid for astroturfing. Unfortunately some people feel free speech and the Internet gives them a carte blanche to say whatever they want.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9900 using Crackberry App!
    07-24-12 07:35 AM
  15. sleepngbear's Avatar
    There was a case a little while ago about a guy who killed a company because he was publishing very detailed but very false information about their financial health. I seem to remember he was imprisoned - anyone know the actual case?

    Having said that, this thread is beyond silly - who is going to do the suing? Is RIM going to start tracking down and suing forum members? It would just increase the bad press.
    There's the rub -- what that guy did directly caused the company material harm. And if he went to the can for it, I'm sure it was something more substantial than posting "x company sucks" in a web forum.

    But I have to agree, the idea of suing somebody for what amounts to an opinion is pure folly. Unless you could prove a concerted effort with the specific intent of effecting a negative outcome and tie it back to a certain individual at Jaguar, what otherwise constitutes trolling doesn't come close to rising to the level of defamation.
    the_sleuth likes this.
    07-24-12 07:39 AM
  16. xandermac's Avatar
    Using the OP's definition, how many journalists would have to be sued?
    cnotp and ajst222 like this.
    07-24-12 07:45 AM
  17. hootyhoo's Avatar
    What if the trolls sued for being called trolls?

    Scrid, you may have found a new niche.
    07-24-12 10:18 AM
  18. cgk's Avatar
    There's the rub -- what that guy did directly caused the company material harm. And if he went to the can for it, I'm sure it was something more substantial than posting "x company sucks" in a web forum.
    I'll try and find the details but if I remember correctly he was producing very very detailed (but faked) financial documents that he was passing to people in private investor forums and the like, he was spending a lot of time on the project.
    07-24-12 10:23 AM
  19. SCrid2000's Avatar
    What if the trolls sued for being called trolls?

    Scrid, you may have found a new niche.
    have the tro... Clients pay me an initial retainer of $2-5k each and I'll start sending letters to all the forum members who have so blatantly impugned their integrity.
    (I feel ridiculous having to say that's not legal advice, but if I don't I'm the one who could be sued )
    07-24-12 10:25 AM
  20. Majestic Lion's Avatar
    Trolls + integrity = does not compute


    07-24-12 12:46 PM
  21. kilted thrower's Avatar
    Aren't there a few other causes in the world to fight the good fight for rather than being upset because some people say negative things about a phone company?

    I'm pretty sure RIM is going to be okay.
    07-24-12 01:18 PM
  22. BlackStormRising's Avatar
    Answer to your subject line would be yes. People are accountable for what they post publicly. Occasionally some people get charged with digital piracy and lose a lot of money. Most dont. The trolls assume they will be fine because no one is going after them yet.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9790 using Tapatalk
    07-24-12 01:41 PM
  23. sleepngbear's Avatar
    I'll try and find the details but if I remember correctly he was producing very very detailed (but faked) financial documents that he was passing to people in private investor forums and the like, he was spending a lot of time on the project.
    Now that's a guy with a grudge.
    07-24-12 01:48 PM
  24. sleepngbear's Avatar
    Trolls + integrity = does not compute


    Well, until actually proven guilty or witnessed living under a bridge by a reliable and reputable source, they are just accused trolls ...
    07-24-12 01:52 PM
  25. TheScionicMan's Avatar
    You would also have to prove damages. And not against a group of "trolls", but per individual, unless you could prove some sort of collusion. How many people relied on the comments and were swayed from buying a BB? How many would you have to drive away before it even merited a lawsuit? Were those definite sales lost or just one of 4 choices taken out of contention?

    Your activism could be better spent on local issues. Just sayin'...
    07-24-12 02:14 PM
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