Commentary

Blogger To Keep Anonymity For Now

The blogger who trashed model Liskula Cohen on the site "Skanks in NYC" will remain anonymous for at least four more weeks, a judge in New York ruled Monday.

Judge Joan Madden said in court she wouldn't unmask the blogger until he or she had been served with papers and given an opportunity to object. Madden ordered Google to email the blog creator with the court papers by Wednesday.

Cohen filed papers earlier this month asking that Google be ordered to identify the blogger behind Skanks in NYC, on the theory that the blog was defamatory. The entire blog contains five posts from last August condemning the 36-year-old model as an "old hag," "skank," and the like.

Google took no position on whether the blog defamed Cohen and, this morning, a lawyer for the search giant made clear that the company wouldn't object if Madden ordered it to reveal the blogger's identity.

The judge, to her credit, hesitated to rule that the statements were enough to support a defamation lawsuit. "I'm not comfortable signing this," she told the lawyers in an off-the-record bench conference.

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Madden was right to delay the matter, given that it's unclear whether the statements on the blog were libelous. Statements must be factual to be defamatory. Here, there's at least an argument to be made that they were opinion.

The case also shows that companies like Google will only go so far to preserve users' privacy. While Google won't just turn over information without a court order, it's not about to fight bloggers' battles for them.

3 comments about "Blogger To Keep Anonymity For Now ".
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  1. liskula gentile cohen, January 27, 2009 at 3:48 a.m.

    After reading both of your articles regarding this case I have going on with Google, let me say, that a) it is nice to see a web site that is going to write about the facts and the truth of the matter, and b) you are the only web site I have commented on.
    Just so everyone can understand this clearly. I had no idea that any of this was news worthy, or that the media would jump all over it as they have. I simply wanted to find out if the man that had attacked me back in 2007 had been the one responsible for this silly blog. I did not intend to sue Google for financial damages, as I believe they are simply a conduit for malicious nonsense like this. It has never been my intention to fight the right to free speech, just simply identify those who use the internet to harm others.
    As for me wanting this in the press and for it being as one commenter stated "in Vogue", all I can really say to all that is...I am a model, it is my job, not my lifestyle. I have no desire for fame, and never have. For a model to demand good paying day rates, she or he must do high end fashion magazines, and covers of magazines. It is one of the steps, to making a good living in my field. But, it comes with many strings as I am sure you have all understood. Fame is not for me and never has been, every time I had a magazine cover come out, I would leave the country in which it was published. I have never sought out any media recognition, and have run from it for the past 17 years.
    People like to assume, and to judge. To scrutinize and point fingers. Its sad. People had not heard of me as a model, because I chose to direct my career like that. I just wanted to do what I do best, to live my life and be happy. I hope this blogger can do the same in his or her life, as far as I can see he or she is clearly not very happy. Seems so silly to me that someone would even waste their precious time on this earth with this type of nonsense...
    Anyway... thanks for being honest, it has not gone unnoticed...
    Liskula..

  2. Steve Plunkett from Cool Websites Organization, January 27, 2009 at 10:01 a.m.

    What would the legal definition of a "skank" or "old hag" be?

    I think since you can't legally define those terms the blogger should be outed..

    <opinion>
    If you are going to sling mud in print you should have to stand up to defend it.. unless it is stated purely as opinion. Then who you are would have bearing on the "opinion".
    </opinion>

  3. Steve Plunkett from Cool Websites Organization, January 27, 2009 at 10:05 a.m.

    ohh.. there are pictures.. well.. i'd say if the person in the pictures is indeded the "skank" person on the blog..

    and the pictures are legit..

    she's kinda on her own.. i mean the pictures kinda do illustrate the point..

    today if you don't delete the pictures you are in.. drunk or not.. they will surface...

    the saying goes.. what happens in vegas stays in vegas, until it ends up on youtube.

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