Friday, August 21, 2009

"Skanks in NYC" Blogger's Days of Anonymity Are Over

The "Skanks in NYC" blogger who recently lost a lawsuit to keep her identity private has now been outed. According to a NY Post article and the accompanying photo and video, the former anonymous blogger did not appear pleased that her identity has been revealed.

Some of my readers may question why I am even reading the NY Post. I have to admit that as a former New Yorker, one of my guilty pleasures was reading the NY Post instead of my Wall Street Journal while commuting to work. Old habits die hard so every now and then I still check out the NY Post online.

I mentioned in a previous post that this case or another similar one may go all the way to the Supreme Court. It appears my prediction may come to fruition. The article states that the former anonymous blogger "plans to pursue all her legal options against Google and could take the case all the way to the Supreme Court."

I can't see what kind of case the blogger would have against Google. Google complied with a valid court order to release the email address associated with the "Skanks in NYC" blog. If the "Skanks in NYC" blogger truly wanted to keep her identity secret she would have at least:

1) Signed up for her blog using an email address that she only accessed from public terminals
2) Never sent any emails from the email address associated with the blog, and
3) Only accessed her blog from public terminals

From listening to the Good Morning America segment about the case, it appears that the blogger at least broke rule number 2 and utilized the email address associated with the blog for other activities. There could be a legal argument that the blogger did not do enough to hide her identity. Therefore, regardless of the other legal issues involved it may be argued that the blogger was looking to be outed by her own actions or lack thereof.

In my opinion, I believe that most jurisdictions will pursue the line of thought that the court in this case did and it will order Internet Service Providers and Social Media Websites to turn over relevant information about those who are alleged to have defamed others. Internet anonymity is becoming more difficult these days and those who do not take the proper precautions are at risk for having their identities unmasked.

Copyright 2009 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Google Book Lawsuit: Next Round

According to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Amazon are planning to join with several non-profit groups in their opposition to the agreement that Google has forged with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers that would have settled the 2005 lawsuit regarding Google's plan to digitize millions of published works.

I think Google's plan to digitize millions of published works is brilliant (as the British would say). When operational, the project will allow any Internet user to access millions of previously hard to view published works. However, we all must remember that Google did not envision this project as a philanthropic venture. The project was meticulously planned and implemented as another revenue stream. I am glad that some of the other E-Commerce heavyweights are finally realizing that their participation in this discussion is vital to ensuring that Google does not obtain a monopoly as the gatekeeper to the published works they scan. Democracy and capitalism work best when there is healthy discussion and lots of competition.