If you or your business has ever had anything harmful, private, false, or defamatory posted on a website, blog, or forum, the experience can leave you feeling powerless, frustrated, violated, and embarrassed. And, if such posts or comments aren’t removed quickly, the offending and damaging material posted online stands to cause irreparable damage to your reputation and bottom line.
Most people that we speak with often mistakenly believe that they are powerless in controlling and removing the information written and posted about them on the Internet. Or, they think that the only option is to “suppress” the content in Google search results with savvy SEO or web-marketing techniques.
Well, that’s where most people are wrong. In most situations involving false and malicious online posts, this is simply NOT true.
Understand that you do have options, and plenty of them. And, it’s time to contact an experienced Internet removal attorney.
Where Should I Start in Order to Remove Damaging & Defamatory Online Content?
Unlike web-marketing agencies or SEO companies, experienced Internet removal attorneys can use specific legal techniques and tactics to completely and permanently remove damaging and defamatory content from the Internet. In the past, the defamation removal lawyers of Minc Law have removed defamatory and disparaging comments and posts from websites such as Ripoffreport.com, TheDirty.com, and Cheaterville.com.
Although not widely known (and typically underutilized), one arsenal at an Internet attorney’s disposal is obtaining a court order to remove unwanted and malicious material from the Internet. Obtaining a court order is a proven method and defamation removal tactic to completely remove content from websites and search engine results which is:
- Privacy invasive, or otherwise
- In violation of the law.
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at how obtaining a court ordered defamation removal works, and the three key steps users need to take to ensure a smooth removal process.
Online Defamation Removal Fact: If you’re a business and actively seeking to combat online defamation and malicious attacks, it’s of the utmost importance that you establish a set online reputation management and monitoring budget. Doing so will not only allow you to keep an eye out for defamatory online posts and comments about your business, but it will also help you identify intellectual property infringers from the outset.
If you our your business has been the victim of online defamation or other malicious posts, reach out to the internet defamation attorneys of Minc Law today to discuss your options!
At Minc Law, our experienced defamation removal attorneys have litigated in over 19 states and 3 countries, securing hundreds of defamation removals and takedowns – and all for a flat, reasonable fee. We know who to work with and how to work with them in order to secure permanent and swift online takedowns.
Put an end to the online abuse today!
To schedule your free, initial no-obligation, call us at (216) 373-7706 or fill out our contact form online.
We’re here to fight for your reputation.
Step One: Consult with an Experienced Internet Attorney to Remove Damaging & Defamatory Online Content
Step one is pretty straight forward. At Minc Law, we highly recommend victims of online defamation and other malicious attacks contact an experienced Internet attorney in order to discuss a post, website, or offending material in question. With numerous defenses and filing formalities associated with defamation law, it’s first important to analyze whether you even have (or still have) a valid legal claim against a person or company.
Below are just a list of some of the potential claims your experienced Internet attorney should work through in order to determine whether you have an actionable claim:
- Invasion of privacy,
- Tortious interference,
- Unfair trade practices, &
- Copyright or trademark infringement (IP claims).
Note that you can read up on other potential legal claims in our Legal Resource Center.
In order to bring a defamation lawsuit, you must have a valid claim.
For example, most persons looking to commence a libel or slander action are unaware that truth is an absolute defense to defamation – meaning that if the statement in question is true, then defamation cannot exist. While the truth may hurt, it doesn’t mean it should be censored.
Furthermore, opinion is also a common defense to defamation actions, and will arise in cases where the statement in question may not be proved true or false, or otherwise verified by fact.
And finally, let’s say you have a valid libel or defamation claim, there’s a chance you might not even be able to identify the malicious poster or individual, or they may be located in another country so it might not be financially prudent to go after them. The point is, you should first be consulting an experienced Internet removal attorney to assist you in determining the best course of action.
Defamation Law Fact: Some other common defenses to libel and slander actions include: (1) Privilege – a legal right enabling a person to communicate a defamatory statement at a certain time, (2) Fair comment on matters of public interest – allowing the open discussion of hot topic issues and public figures without fear of legal repercussion, and (3) Consent – after all, you can’t later sue for something you consented to in the first place.
When bringing an online defamation suit or action, most parties and victims are unaware that they typically cannot hold the website or ISP where the offensive content was posted liable for libel.
So, who can you hold liable for malicious and defamatory posts to a user-generated content platform or website? The individual poster.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
First, let’s take a look at landmark piece of legislation – the Communications Decency Act (CDA) – which provides near blanket immunity for websites and ISPs who host user-generated content. Similar to telephone companies which facilitate the transmission of phone calls across their networks, the CDA immunizes websites who merely provide the platform for users to post personal and individual content or comments.
Specifically, Section 230 of the CDA provides:
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
When applying whether to hold a website liable for online defamation and posted content, courts will typically apply the following three-prong test:
- The defendant must be a user or provider of an interactive computer service (such as a user-generated content platform),
- The plaintiff must treat the defendant as a “speaker or publisher” of the defamatory or offensive information in question, &
- The information or content must actually be provided by another provider (such as a forum commenter, website poster, or other separate party).
Simply put, unless a website or ISP actually creates, curates, or materially alters the content posted in any way, then they likely won’t be held liable for online defamation and malicious attacks (unless a rather narrow exception applies).
So, what’s the ultimate goal when bringing a lawsuit against an individual poster?
When bringing a defamation lawsuit against a malicious individual poster or troll, the overall goal is to obtain an equitable order from the court – or a stipulated court approved settlement – requiring the removal of a website, its contents, or the delisting of the URL from search engine indices.
Ohio Defamation Law Fact: Ohio courts will not find libel or slander in cases where a statement is spoken or communicated in a manner that an average listener or reader would interpret it to be merely a rumor. Although rumors may be harmful and false, if they are spoken and communicated in a manner that an ordinary reader would not find it to be a true assertion of fact, then a defendant likely won’t be held liable for libel or slander.
Now, let’s take a look at the third and final step in securing the complete and permanent removal of damaging and defamatory material from Internet search engines – presenting your court order to the search engines.
Step Three: Present the Court Order to Search Engines
Think of presenting your court order to Internet search engines as the ‘coup de grâce’ of online defamation removal – aka the deathblow.
Once a court order is submitted to Internet search engines, all that is left to do is to sit back and wait for the search engines to comply with the request. Although response times may vary, at Minc Law, we’ve executed such service for several clients and received confirmation of removal within twenty-four hours of such requests.
Note that search engines do not charge for this service.
Below are just some of the valid reasons users may also prove in order to secure a search result removal:
- Phishing or malware: Google will remove websites which employ malware and other hostile means to acquire highly sensitive personal information from users in order to leverage it against them.
- Copyright or trademark infringement: In cases where a website has failed to obtain proper copyright or trademark licensing, Google may be compelled to remove such material. However, removing such material can be an arduous task and is typically only ordered through third-party arbitration or a court order.
- Posting of specially protected information (SPI): Google will also remove posts and information from Internet search results where they contain highly invasive or unique personal/financial information, such as a person’s bank account details, social security number, or credit card number. Keep in mind that not all personal information is protected, and information such as a person’s birth date, name, and other non-descript information will be allowed.
Online Reputation & Brand Management Tip: If you’re looking for free and temporary means to suppress negative and defamatory online search results, there’s several steps you can take: (1) create a blog and start posting frequent content, (2) make your social media profiles public and start openly commenting and posting, and (3) Interlink between all your various online accounts in order to create one powerful and cohesive digital footprint.
Work With the Defamation Removal Lawyers of Minc Law Today!
If you or your business has been victimized by damaging and defamatory online material, don’t hesitate to call the experienced Internet defamation attorneys of Minc Law today to discuss your legal options!
At Minc Law, we boast a nearly 100% online defamation removal and takedown rate, and all for a flat, reasonable fee. Our experienced defamation lawyers have worked tirelessly with numerous website administrators, content managers, and third party arbitration firms to secure permanent and quick removals.
Here’s what you can expect when working with the Ohio-based defamation lawyers of Minc Law:
- Respect & Courtesy: Know that when analyzing your claim and formulating a strategic game plan, we’re always on your side. At Minc Law, your goals are our goals, and we’re here to treat you with the utmost respect and courtesy.
- Open Communication & Dialogue: Some lawyers will go missing or quiet once your defamation takedown has started. We’ll make sure to stay in constant contact with you regarding the details and updates surrounding your removal. At Minc Law, we’re here to keep you informed.
- We Get Results: Our experienced defamation attorneys have litigated in over 19 states and 3 countries, and have secured hundreds of online defamation removals and takedowns. Rest assured, when working with the defamation attorneys of Minc Law, we get results. Businesses and websites respond to us.
It’s time to put an end to the online abuse now!
To schedule your initial, no-obligation consultation, call us at (216) 373-7706 or schedule a meeting online.
Let us fight for your reputation.