In a world where we see branding and image as the key to commercial success, defamatory statements about your business can decimate it. Individuals too can have their reputation destroyed by libelous or slanderous comments. Often you need to act quickly to curtail the effects of harmful comment. But how can you start legal action if you don’t know the identity of the person who actually made the comments?
THE PROBLEM OF USER GENERATED CONTENT
The proliferation of user generated content on online forums, review sites, message boards and chatrooms means the problem of defamatory comments made by unknown individuals is increasingly common.
Nath Solicitors in London acts regularly in defamation cases where the identity of the wrongdoer is unknown. We have a great track record in successfully getting defamatory material removed and obtaining damages for clients.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We address the defamatory material in a variety of ways. For example:
- Through Informal negotiation with internet service providers (ISPs) and online publishers – By framing our removal requests appropriately and ensuring the ISP understands we are serious about legal action, we can often get material removed immediately without any complications. This approach is similar to the way we manage the online reputation of clients in respect of material that, while potentially damaging, is not defamatory.
- Legal action under the Defamation Act – If informal requests are ignored there is a well-established legal route for seeking removal of material posted by an unknown individual. It involves applying to the High Court for an injunction and assessment of damages. You need to provide the court with evidence that you have served notice of the claim and show the serious harm you have suffered.
- Norwich Pharmacal Orders – This mechanism enables us to force a third party to provide you with details of the identity of someone who has made defamatory statements about you.
OTHER WAYS TO TACKLE ANONYMOUS DEFAMATION
Sometimes however there are other, more effective ways of dealing with anonymous defamatory comments. For example, we regularly assist commercial clients in proactively tackling negative online reviews about their businesses. By carefully drafting and publishing rebuttals that forensically undermine anything that is defamatory the original damage can often be undone. In our experience this approach sometimes has just as much impact as more formal legal action.
These cases are rarely straightforward. So it makes sense to get clarity on your legal position before devoting resources to defending or making a claim. Because we act regularly for claimants and defendants in libel and slander actins we are able to anticipate the approach the other side is likely to take. To contact Nath Solicitors call us on +44(0)203 670 5540 or contact us online.