Former model Liskula Cohen angry at a Skanks in New York blog entry on Blogger.com is suing Google in an effort to find out who is responsible for the alleged libellous and defamatory comments posted about her. By drawing attention to the obscure Skanks in New York blog, Liskula Cohen boosted its readership and raised the ire of some bloggers who suggested that at her age (36), Cohen ought to be thicker skinned about namecalling reminscent of grade school.
The Skanks in New York entry that apparently prompted Liskula Cohen’s lawsuit refers to the former model as “a psychotic, lying, whoring, still going to clubs at her age, skank.”
According to Nowpublic, Liskula Cohen’s lawyer Steven Wagner contends that the lawsuit is necessary to force the anonymous Skanks in New York blogger who defamed her into the light.
Anonymous internet defamation and libel is becoming an increasing problem, opening up a new generation of First Amendment issues.
In 2003, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal involving a Minnesota Supreme Court decision holding that internet defamation must be expressly aimed at harming the subject of the defamatory statements. In the Minnesota case, the alleged defamation consisted of commentary deriding a woman’s college degree as coming “from a Cracker Jack box.” The court was not persuaded by the claim that the comment affected the woman’s ability to obtain consulting work in her field of expertise.
In Doe v. 2theMart.com, Inc., a U.S. District Court in Washington state ruled that internet posters who have committed no wrongdoing are entitled to have their anonymity protected under the First Amendment. This has led to the anomaly of litigants trying to prove defamation or libel without knowing the identity of the poster of offending online comments and subsequently seeking a subpoena requiring the poster’s identity.
Apparently the next steps for Liskula Cohen may involve proving to a court that she is a truthful non-psychotic who is neither a whore nor a skank- and that whoever anonymously posted the contrary either knew the posting to be false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
Sources: http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=2645; http://skanksnyc.blogspot.com/2008/08/ok-so-there-are-so-many-nasty-bithces.html; http://www.nowpublic.com/strange/liskula-cohen-sues-google-over-skanks-nyc-blog; http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2003-03-11-net-libel_x.htm; http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=44633f5a-6d26-422c-be8b-53a785a6d6dd&k=37041; http://www.law.duke.edu/journals/dltr/articles/2002dltr0004.html.