When a business or individual is facing the damaging effects of Internet defamation, cyberbullying, cyber harassment, nonconsensual pornography, or any type of online invasion of privacy, the victim is looking to remove the harmful or unwanted content from the Internet and stop online attacks as quickly as possible. In order to do so, it is necessary to identify the perpetrator; unfortunately, the responsible party oftentimes operates anonymously. Our experienced Internet attorneys and team of online investigative and forensic experts are highly trained in identifying and locating people, organizations, and other defamers that attempt to hide their identity.
Removal of Damaging Content
Court Ordered Removal and Search Engine De-Indexing
The Communications Decency Act provides immunity to online service providers and Internet users from civil or criminal liability for content posted by third parties. Despite this, most websites and major search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, have polices in place for voluntarily removing content from webpages and search results if given a valid court order. Every website and search engine has different requirements as to what constitutes a “valid” court order. In order to obtain one, a lawsuit must be filed. Unfortunately, the defamatory content oftentimes is authored or posted by individuals who are anonymous or cannot easily be identified or located. Depending on the state where the lawsuit is filed, efforts must then be undertaken to uncover the identity of the anonymous author. If for some reason it is impossible to do so, even after appropriate due diligence is taken, a motion for service by publication can be requested and then default can be filed. Court orders are used not only for injunctions to remove content, but also to prevent content from continuing to be reposted and to obtain monetary compensation and relief for the client.
Uncovering the Identity of the Anonymous Perpetrator
Uncovering the identity and/or location of an anonymous perpetrator usually requires subpoenaing websites, hosts, and ISPs to determine the identity of the perpetrator. At Minc Law, we utilize some of the most sophisticated technology coupled with legal techniques to identify those who appear to be anonymous and unidentifiable. We employ deep web advanced search tools, such as WHOIS and DNS look ups; metadata tracing and analysis; email and social media IP traps; website forensics; and private investigator services, as well as “John Doe” lawsuits and subpoenas.
Because it often can be challenging to identify the anonymous author of online defamatory content, no one can “guarantee” 100% successful identification in every circumstance. Yet, in today’s digital age, every website, electronic communication, and click of the mouse can leave a trail of evidence or electronic “fingerprint” as to the identity and location of a user. When utilizing the full range of investigative and forensic resources offered by our team, we offer a significantly high chance of successful identification.
Stopping the Online Defamation and Harassment:
Identification of an anonymous defamer or harasser is not only necessary to obtain a court order for removal of the damaging online content, but it is also necessary to stop any ongoing defamation or harassment and to file for compensation. Each case has different variables that can significantly impact the best strategy to address the matter. Client who work with our attorneys benefit from the availability of all options. In some cases, a well-drafted demand letter from one of our attorneys may be all it takes to resolve a situation. In cases where such an approach is insufficient, our attorneys can provide experienced representation in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as mediation and arbitration. In yet other situations, the most appropriate strategy for resolving the matter is to file a lawsuit to seek damages for the consequences of the false and defamatory materials.
How Do I Get Started?
Because Minc Law is dedicated solely to Internet defamation, we have the experience and expertise to identify anonymous defamers and harassers in order to remove online defamatory content and stop ongoing harassment.
You may have more options than you realize. To learn more about our online investigation services and to discuss your specific matter, contact us today.