Thursday, June 4, 2009

Good Luck, La Russa! Media Attorney Says You'll Need It

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 1:20 PM

click to enlarge twittervslarussa.jpg
Daily RFT's tech blogger Bill Streeter has already shared the news that Tony La Russa is suing Twitter over a fake Twit who was tweeting under "The Skipper's" likeness. (The Twitter account was suspended after the lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California.)

La Russa is likely to face a shut-out on this one, according to Mark Sableman, a media lawyer at Thompson Coburn who represents Riverfront Times on legal issues. "Things like this don't happen so often in traditional print media, because there's an editorial process that takes out bad stuff, and because there is potential liability for any intermediary publisher," Sableman tells RFT. "That is, if you try to submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper saying terrible things about your ex-girlfriend, they won't publish it, and if they did, they'd be liable."

But a person who's the subject of nasty comments left anonymously on the Internet "has no legal rights against whoever is hosting or transmitting these comments," Sableman further explains. "The only remedy is against the person who posted them -- and that person is anonymous and hard to find."

Sableman suggests that the smeared, like La Russa, would be better off spending their time and dinero going after the anonymous posters outside the halls of justice.

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