HILARY J. SUMNER
Creating Assets from Innovations

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IP In the News

Freedom of Speech is not Absolute - Negative Yelp Reviewers are Revealed

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 4:05 PM

While the 9th Circuit recently held that bloggers are protected by freedom of speech, internet reviewers may not enjoy those same freedoms.  The Virginia Court of Appeals recently acknowledged that anonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment but held that where there is a good-faith belief that commercial speech is defamatory, the identity of anonymous reviewers may be revealed.  In this particular case, seven people posted negative reviews of a carpet cleaning business.  The business filed a defamation suit against the seven individuals and issued a subpoena requsting that Yelp reveal the indentity of the seven anonymous reviewers.  Yelp refused but the VA Court of Appeals held that where a reviewer is not a geniune customer of the business it is reviewing, that review is based on a false statement of fact and the reviewer is not entitled to First Amendment protections.  Click here for full article

Categories: CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES, BUSINESS, CONTRACT & MARKETING ISSUES, RIGHT OF PUBLICITY ARTICLES & PRIVACY CONCERNS

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