Outing Cyberbullies On YouTube: Defamation or Free Speech?

Outing Cyberbullies On YouTube: Defamation or Free Speech?

Listen to my podcast interview with attorney David Fish, counsel for Carla Franklin, who is described in the media as the "brainy ex-model" going after cyberbullies on YouTube by having legal papers filed to expose their identities. Is there a free-speech case to be made about negative comments on YouTube or does this meet the criteria for defamation?[powerpress]

Skip to these time points to listen to individual questions:

  • (01:57) What has been the reaction to this case by the larger media so far?
  • (3:38) How did this get such widespread attention?
  • (4:55) How long has it been since the case was first filed?
  • (6:46) What is the background on this case?
  • (10:30) Why don't you consider this to be a free speech issue?
  • (13:59) How does this type of cyber-bullying meet the legal criteria for "defamation?"
  • (15:02) What were the first steps already taken with removing the offending material?
  • (16:43) What will happen if Google does comply?
  • (17:44) What will happen if Google refuses to comply?
  • (20:02) What advice would you give to others in a similar situation as your client?

Cyber-Attorney Thoughts On YouTube Cyber-Bullying

Below were my discussion points I had actually recorded via a video Skype interview late last night with cyber-attorney and friend-of-the-show, Daliah Saper, at 11 pm last night. But to our misfortune, the video recording got corrupted after it was all done! So as a temporary consolation, I've included our questions below. We plan to feature Daliah's responses on ReelSEO at a later time.

  • Is there an issue of "digging up" video that Carla isn't happy about existing? Is that really defamation if someone is just posting up what was already made?
  • Does calling someone a "whore" in the comments area of a YouTube video page meet the criteria for defamation? Who takes the comments area seriously? Including job hires?
  • Could these comments have really hurt her? Is calling someone a "whore" today really defamatory, especially if it can be reasonable construed as not being made as an actual statement of fact? (To note, I haven't been privy to the evidence in this case.)
  • Honestly, are we to believe that after a year of being posted up online, with only a few hundred views, that  this type of comment would be looked at by job prospects with any degree of believability?
  • What does Carla Franklin really have to gain?
  • What if Google doesn't have the means to trace the users? It's not a given that they do have this information.
  • If Google can't trace the users, couldn't this backfire?

More On This Case To Come...

Also, stay tuned next week for our podcast interview with fellow attorney and friend of the show, Mark J. Rosenberg, who weighs his own thoughts on this case.

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About the Author -
Grant Crowell is a veteran “social video stylist” working in video marketing since 2005. He has worked in the online marketing industry since 1996 providing digital strategies and development to enterprises and entrepreneurs of all sizes, including Video SEO, YouTube marketing, video UX best practices, performance testing, legal issues and ethics. Contact Grant @ http://grantcrowell.com/. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Loveulongtime

    Who cares? Whenever someone says crap I do not like I just log off. Come on people!

  • Xam3000hehe

    This is soooo anti american what they are doing.....its not funny

  • Jean123

    Hey no cyber bullying is right. The thing about YOUTUBE is that you can say what you want and it doesn't show up in a google search. Post something on topix and you are sunk and the word is that their moderators are just tech geeks who weed out the boring stuff. Very disturbing. Parents and educators would like it investigated (32 attorney generals already are).


  • Chuck Darby

    Unfortunately, this is going on a lot, ask Gregory Evans of Ligatt Security. I think that stricter guidelines should be put on what many consider as free speech.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    I've come to accept that Skype should no longer be the professional option for recording video interviews. I think they may be suffering from a limited amount of bandwidth for an increasing amount of users. Plus I did the interview at 11:15 pm Central Time, which is heavy usage. I am looking into some paid programs and see if we can get something that's better quality and more reliable. Always good to have suggestions!