The Basics: What is STDRegistry.com?
Although founded upon principles of transparency and a duty to warn the general public, STDRegistry.com quickly evolved into the exact opposite, becoming a baseless and unsubstantiated safe-haven for disgruntled lovers, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, and even complete strangers, to accuse literally anyone of possessing, or spreading, a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The site has since manifested itself in the form of one of the most depraved and offensive user-generated content platforms out there, where defamed parties have minimal legitimate channels of dispute, or recourse and removal.
Upon landing on STDRegistry’s homepage, users are greeted with a “biohazard” sign, and encouraged to “Report an STD Carrier.” The layout is hectic, messy, and uncouth, classifying posts by disease, and providing a 3-step guide on how to report someone. Additionally, the homepage boasts a “Testimonials” section, where anonymous users praise STDRegistry.com as a trusted and reputable site.
As the “first public early warning alert system for identifying potential sources of incurable STDs,” and the largest STD Registry Database on the Internet, STDRegistry.com’s unverified and malicious posts pose a serious threat to your reputation and livelihood. Lies and unfounded accusations are just a click away, making it imperative you act now and remove all defamatory online content before a loved one, friend, or even future employer finds it on the first page of Google’s search results.
Defamation Removal Tip: Before bringing a defamation claim, it’s first important to understand the four core defenses a defendant may have. The four most common defenses to defamation are: (1) truth, (2) opinion, (3) consent, and (4) privilege.
Cleveland-based defamation removal attorney, Aaron Minc, and his experienced team of defamation removal lawyers, want to fight for your reputation. Aaron and his team have a near 100% removal rate, and all for a flat, reasonable fee.
What is Defamation Per Se?
Before diving into key issues plaguing STDRegistry.com’s site and reputability, let’s first focus on the definition of defamation, and its various forms.
Defamation is the act of communicating false statements purporting to be fact, ultimately, damaging the reputation of a person, business, group, religion, nation, or product, and generally takes two forms:
- Libel: a written, or published, defamatory statement damaging a person’s reputation,
- Slander: a spoken defamatory statement damaging a person’s reputation.
For a defamation claim to be actionable and successful, a plaintiff is required to prove the four core elements below:
- The statement was false, and concerning the plaintiff,
- There was a written, or spoken, publication of that statement to a third-party,
- The defendant was at least negligent in the publishing of that communication, and
- Damages, the statement caused harm or damage to the subject of the statement.
What’s worth noting about defamation is there are certain false statements so inherently damaging, that they are considered defamatory “on their face,” also known as “defamation per se,” meaning the defendant need not prove actual damages. Defamation per se can be classified into (1) libel per se, and (2) slander per se, depending on whether it was communicated in verbal or written form.
U.S. Defamation Law Fact: Due to fervent enforcement of the Constitution’s First Amendment, the United States is generally considered a pro-defendant jurisdiction in defamation cases, as opposed to European and Commonwealth countries who are considered more pro-plaintiff.
Absent the form in which it is conveyed, there are four general categories of statements constituting defamation per se:
- A false statement imputing, or accusing, a person of possessing a loathsome disease, most commonly a sexually transmitted disease (STD), or leprosy,
- A false statement imputing unchastity on a person,
- A false statement alleging a person acted incompatibly with the proper conduct required for his/her business, trade, or profession, and
- A false statement accusing someone of engaging in criminal activity, or perpetrating a crime of moral turpitude.
The first two categories of statements, (1) accusing a person of possessing or spreading an STD, and (2) of engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior, run rampant on STDRegistry.com, meaning future plaintiffs need only prove that the statement is false, and was communicated to a third-party.
As not all 50 states have defamation per se laws, it’s important to reach out to an experienced defamation removal attorney in order to best identify the proper channels of legal recourse. The defamation removal attorneys of Minc Law will help you identify and determine whether your case is actionable and how the law applies to your specific case.
Aaron Minc and his team of Northeast Ohio-based lawyers have a near 100% removal rate, and all for a flat, reasonable fee. Contact Aaron and his experienced team by calling us at (216) 373-7706, or by scheduling an online consultation.
Online Reputation Management Tip: If you want to minimize the visibility of a negative digital footprint, there are several (free) steps you can take to protect your reputation, including, setting up new social media profiles and actively posting, starting a blog, publishing various types of media (videos, pictures, and even podcasts), and leaving comments on popular websites.
Three Key Issues with STDRegistry’s User-Sourced and Generated Content
Fortunately, and unfortunately, the Internet has provided a transparent mechanism for people from around the world to post on any topic imaginable. While most online user-generated content, review, and reporting platforms envision themselves as pioneers of free speech and civic-mindedness, their unregulated and unverifiable nature makes them a hotbed for malicious attacks, accusations, and online defamation.
Cue STDRegistry.com, the ultimate hotbed of TOS violations, unfounded accusations, online libe, and humiliating and embarrassing reports.
3 Key Issues with STDRegistry.com
- Anonymous registration: Plain and simple, websites with anonymous registration open themselves up to more abuse and defamatory attacks than those who require posters to reveal their identity. Anonymous registration allows users to write and post information they might otherwise be embarrassed, or fearful to post. Additionally, users often sign up with throwaway accounts and email addresses, shielding them from potential societal, or legal recourse. However, anonymous posters can be located, and held accountable for their malicious online attacks. The Defamation Removal Attorneys of Minc Law have exposed and identified countless online posters and held them liable for false posts and reviews. Reach out today to learn about your options, and formulate a strategic game-plan with Aaron and his team of experienced removal lawyers.
- Unverifiable content: STDRegistry.com’s TOS reads, “STDRegistry.com does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information on STDRegistry.com,” and recognizes their blanket immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). Section 230 of the CDA provides a safe harbor for owners of user-generated content platforms, as they are not required to actually verify any content posted on the site. With a lack of proper verification procedures in place, and anonymous registration process, users are more likely to post libelous, malicious, and inaccurate content online. After all, if content isn’t being moderated and users aren’t being punished, why wouldn’t a disgruntled user lie or stretch the truth.
- Copyright infringement: STDRegistry.com allows users to post pictures of innocent parties, and oftentimes, the users don’t possess the actual copyright to the photo. Pictures stolen off of someone’s Facebook, or a texted selfie, are the copyright of the person in the picture, or the photographer themself, not a disgruntled ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse who stole it off your social media profile. Section 230 of the CDA does carve out an exception for intellectual property infringement, and several other cases, allowing stolen photos and other copyrighted material to be removed. At Minc Law, Aaron and his Cleveland-based team of removal lawyers know to explore all options, including filing a DMCA takedown to remove copyrighted material.
Defamation Removal Tip: If you’ve found an unconsented photo of yours posted on STDRegistry.com, or another user-generated platform, screenshot it. Making a digital copy is an effective method of preserving evidence, and strengthening your claim for removal.
Three Major Problems with STDRegistry’s Removal Policy
STDRegistry.com’s removal policy suffers from three serious issues, making it extremely difficult for injured parties to remove defamatory online posts, and thus, endangering your reputation and livelihood.
Requiring injured parties take up their issue with the poster
STDRegistry.com washes its hands clean of any regulatory action, by claiming they act neither as judge, nor jury, and state, “We do not take sides on any matters that are discussed within this website. If you feel that someone has submitted false information about you on STDRegistry.com, it is your responsibility to take that issue up with the submitter.”
Unfortunately, taking up the issue directly with the party who submitted information is highly unlikely and impractical. The average person does not have the access, time, or resources to locate an anonymous poster. Additionally, it can be stressful and overwhelming having to confront your tormentor, and result in further embarrassment and anxiety.
Undisclosed financial conflict of interest
Further discrediting STDRegistry.com’s “neutral” stance towards removal and online defamation is their relationship with several third-party arbitration services. STDRegistry.com invites injured parties to contact one of three arbitration services to challenge the post. Directing injured parties to a third-party arbitration service is highly suspicious, and sheds light on a potential conflict of interest, or indirect (or direct) compensation.
Lengthy removal timeframe
Cementing defamatory permanence into the Internet is STDRegistry.com’s lengthy delay in removing the offensive content. They acknowledge the removal could take up to six to twelve months, or even more, depending on the case.
When dealing with online defamation, time is of the essence. Online defamation is like a wildfire, and once it spreads, it can be extremely difficult to put out. And, once it’s put out, the charred remains of once was is still evident. Any site that allows up to one year before a secured and permanent removal is not to be trusted, and can cause severe damage to your reputation.
The defamation removal lawyers of Minc Law will make good-faith efforts to work with STDRegistry.com, and other sites, to secure a swift and permanent removal of defamatory content. And, if needed, we can work with Google and other search engines to secure a valid court order, thus expediting the removal process.
Ohio Defamation Law Fact: The Ohio State Bar organization lays out different standards of fault when bringing a defamation claim, depending on whether a private or public individual is the subject of the false statement. Defamed private individuals are required to prove the defamer acted negligently, while defamed public officials are required to prove the defamer acted with actual malice.
Work with Defamation Removal Attorneys to Remove False & Embarrassing Posts From STDRegistry.com
If you’ve found yourself at the center of false allegations and attacks on STDRegistry.com, or other similar user-generated content platforms, the reputation lawyers of Minc, LLC want to fight for you. At Minc, LLC, we deal in both libel and slander, and we know who to work with, and how to work with them to secure justice. Additionally, if you are the victim of revenge porn, we have storied experience in revenge porn removal.
When working with us, here’s what you can expect:
- You will be treated with respect and courtesy: The defamation removal process can be stressful and overwhelming, so know that your goals are our goals. All of our consultations are confidential, and we will explore all available removal options.
- We are here to work with you: Once the takedown process begins, some lawyers are unresponsive and disappear. After commencing the removal process, our team will stay in constant contact with you, updating you on relevant details of your case.
- Websites respond to Minc Law: Our team of Cleveland-based removal attorneys boast a success rate of nearly 100%, and all for a flat, reasonable fee. We get quick and permanent results, and know how to get a firm message across to offending sites and users.