Internet has become an integral part of our lives, yet we haven’t been able to figure out how far the actual legalities may apply to online activities. For instance, in a recent case, a woman posted a scathing review on Yelp about a firm. The firm, in turn, has filed a defamation lawsuit against her.
Jana Perez hired Christopher Dietz to work for her. However, she was abysmally disappointed by his performance and took to internet to let off her steam. Perez headed to Yelp and posted an online review which advises the users not to hire the firm Dietz belongs to.
Apparently, freedom of speech online is not a concept many people understand. Dietz soon launched a lawsuit against Perez, demanding $750,000 from her and accusing that her review has led many clients away from the company. Dietz has also demanded that Perez should not be allowed to write any other reviews.
In the past, a number of companies have launched lawsuits against the opinions expressed online. Most of these have failed, given the fact that the court continue to acknowledge the freedom of speech online. However, the concept still baffles corporate entities which keep launching such lawsuits against online reviewers.
Perez says she wrote the review because she didn’t want other people to go through the nightmare she went through. She further holds that whatever she wrote about Dietz was absolutely correct and believes that Dietz, and the likes of him, want to shut down such honest reviews so as to give the common consumers a false impression of their services or brand.
The plight of the businesses is somewhat valid, since negative reviews on highly popular websites can lead them to incur damages. In this case, Dietz alleges that Perez has included a lot of false accusations in her review to malign him.
So, where do we draw the line between the rights of the users to express their opinion and the rights of the companies to be protected against false accusations? People should stick to opinion and tell only the truth, says a lawyer. This can work, since claims which can’t eventually be proved is what lands most people in trouble.
Source: Washington Post