More on "Free Speech" vs. "Cyber Smearing" Legal Issues : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

HMM. HATE SPEECH and EXTREMISM OK but lies about financial statements a "no-no"????


Guess this person never "tuned into Y2k" via TB or GN or Hyatt: "......``I think that people are smart enough to determine for themselves what information on a message board is credible,'' French said. ``I don't think we need a CEO or a judge telling us what we need to read or not read.'' "

Watch the Anon Doomers HOWL. Then ask WHY would they tolerate IRRESPONSIBLE ANONYMOUS POSTING?

Online Speech Hit With Offline Lawsuits
Companies and their critics clash on message boards
Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, June 26, 2000
)2000 San Francisco Chronicle



One Internet user posted an anonymous message on Yahoo that said Hvide Marine, a Florida shipping company, ``hornswoggled'' and ``bamboozled'' shareholders out of their money. Another wrote that the firm's management ``blew it'' and speculated whether they were under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The posters eventually got what they wanted when Erik Hvide, the company's chief executive, was fired. But that was soon followed by the unwelcome news that Hvide was suing them and several others for libel, a case that is being closely watched by companies and the Internet community.

In the past two years, at least 70 so- called cybersmear cases have been filed against message-board posters. Among the Bay Area firms that have tried to fight back against online critics are E-Trade, Ross Stores and Sun Microsystems.

Companies and executives say these lawsuits are the only way to protect their reputations and stock prices. But free- speech advocates say Internet users are censoring what they post online for fear of being sued.

``If this trend continues, spirited, healthy and valuable discourse on these thousands of bulletin

boards about thousands of companies will whither,'' said Christopher Leigh, the lawyer representing the Internet posters in the Hvide case, which is under way in Florida. ``People will be afraid to speak their minds.''

Entwined in the debate are questions about online anonymity. Internet users may believe that Web sites guard their identities when they post messages under pseudonyms, but the truth is that the firms regularly disclose names when presented with subpoenas.

However, that practice is being challenged by one anonymous-message poster who filed a lawsuit against Yahoo last month. He says the Santa Clara company violated his rights when it disclosed personal information about him to a company he was criticizing.

Most cybersmear suits center on messages posted on financial Web sites such as Yahoo Finance and Raging Bull. They provide individual message boards for more than 7,000 publicly traded stocks where users can post their views.

The result is millions of opinions ranging from the thoughtful to the profane. Message writers analyze everything from company profits, or lack thereof, to launching personal attacks against executives.

Many small investors visit these message boards every day and use the information posted there to make investment decisions. In some cases, people post disinformation among the messages to illegally manipulate a stock's price in their favor.


Eugene Volokh, a law professor who specializes in the First Amendment and the Internet at the University of California at Los Angeles, said rules governing what people can say in print generally apply to the Web. For example, people can air opinions and use hate speech, but they cannot post trade secrets or intentional lies that hurt the reputation of others.

``Those kinds of statements are just as punishable online as off,'' Volokh said.



-- cpr (, July 02, 2000


It's a real slippery slope we place ourselves on, but these issues need to be examined. If we limit someone's free speech becuase they are greedy and just want to hurt someone, how will we know if we limit someone's free speech because they want to be the next Mother Teresa.

But if we ignore the issues at hand and let these people ruin peoples lives are we any better than the censors. Are we to make greed and profit motive are own sacred cows.

I don't claim to have all of the answers, but I think it needs to be discussed now rather than later.

-- Bimi Thanton (Bimit@littlerock.con), July 02, 2000.


You brought up an important subject so you might like to give your opinion on the following: Bulk emailings. From the data that I have seen these have a larger impact than the information on bulletin boards [being on AOL, I am priviledged to get all of these]. Since they are a kind of electronic chain letter, they travel far and wide. There was the famous one, which is still circulating, on artifical sweetners. Most people that I know [coast to coast] have received this at one time or another. I recall evidence showing that this letter had an effect on sales of diet drinks. I got a beauty describing the disaster that would occur on 1 Jan 00. The latest ones dealt with vaccines [specific companies mentioned] and GM plants. Now whatever you opinion on these matters, all of the information in these letters was bogus. I am waiting for someone to attach one of these letters as a vps file or some other such thing so it self propagates.

I have some clue as to how companies can moniter the content of bulletin boards but how will they moniter emailings? Will such moniterings be a good idea? It seems to me that this will be a bigger privacy issue.

See you all in months. As a parting comment, I just heard on the news [NPR] that someone is sueing the governor of Virginia for failing to take action protecting the people of the state from UFO's and alien abductions. Could this be anyone that we know?

-- Z1X4Y7 (, July 02, 2000.


You are the one with the "hatred." You are like a defrocked priest of a long-dead ideaolgy... staggering around with a smoldering censer containing the remnants of free expression. You sir, have not a little... but a lot of hate. I hope you realize this about yourself.

-- (, July 02, 2000.

CPR may have hatred inside of him, but I've never seen him posting something wishing death on his opponents.

Plenty of doomers have, though. I hope you recognize that hatred in them.

-- Rave, rave, rave (, July 02, 2000.

You can still say what you want to anonymously, so long as it's true.

-- Hiway (, July 02, 2000.

Posted by cpr on October 12, 1999 at 18:56:01:

In Reply to: Once we get into the first weeks of Jan posted by The Y2Idiot on October 12, 1999 at 14:41:16:

And I have every intention of making sure that it will be on a web site as a demonstration of something that must NEVER, EVER happen again.

And I sincerely hope one or some of them try to SUE me because in "disclosure" I will get at their business and private email records and prove that all our speculations about the MONEY were correct.

And trust me.........IT WILL BE MY PLEASURE.


-- Quotably (quoted@financial.statement), July 02, 2000.


-- cpr (, July 02, 2000.

So what is it you know you could prove if you could get at their business and private email records, CPR?

-- Free speech (vs.@cyber.smearing), July 02, 2000.

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