Sep 27, 2013

Picture This: Libel by Pinterest?

Two years ago, it looked like a lawsuit brought against singer Courtney Love by fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir would be the first libel trial over comments posted on Twitter. Although that lawsuit was settled, shortly thereafter Love was named as the defendant in a lawsuit brought by her former attorney for comments that Love posted on Twitter herself: a suit that is still pending.

Love continues to break ground in libel law involving social media: earlier this month, she was sued for libel over postings on Pinterest, in addition to comments on the Howard Stern Show. Once again, the plaintiff is Dawn Simorangkir, who claims that Love accused Simorangkir of stealing from her.

The complaint cites Love's statements from the Howard Stern interview (audio; the comments at issue are in the first two minutes) and Pinterest posts by her accusing Simoracngkir of stealing from her.

Ironically, in the interview Stern gave Love a pretty -- excuse the pun -- stern lecture on defamation. "You love to speak out, you love to talk, and this is unfiltered," he said. "... I don't go around disparaging someone unless I'm completely sure of my facts. ... You can't just blurt things out."

This appears to be the first libel suit based on Pinterest. And with the Twitter lawsuit apparently headed to trial in January, Courtney Love is likely to help establish a precedent in social media law.


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