UPDATE July 4, 2011: Today I went back and read more of the comments (there are over 100) under my original blog entry about this seminar. I thought I removed all defamatory comments but some were still there, so I removed them. I have no staff. I do this in my spare time as a hobby. There is a lot to read and I missed some.
This oversight on my part, not having time to review all comments made by anonymous people on my blog, and not realizing this was MY responsibility (is it?) to do so, is why I am named in this $200,000 defamation lawsuit.
I attended a “Get Motivated” seminar a few years ago and wrote a blog entry about it.
Someone I do not know posted potentially defamatory statements under several different names in the comments section under my post.
The case of James Smith et al. v. Elizabeth Arden et al has resulted in the owners of WordPress.com getting a demand that they produce my personal information:
“The addresses, emails, IP addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile numbers and names of individuals who own, operate, manage, edit or facilitate the websites known as Xeno, Xenophilius or Xenophioius.wordpress.com; written or digital communications between Automattic and Xeno, Xenophilius or Xenophilius.wordpress.com and concerning commentators, or comments, that are the subject of this lawsuit or relevant thereto; any and all documents, including electronically stored documents, that contain evidence about the name and contact information of the person(s) who made the comments, including names, aliases, addresses, emails, phone numbers, login ids, passwords, IP addresses, etc.”
I (thought I) removed the offending comments many months ago, but I refused to turn over the IP addresses of the people making comments because I wanted to protect freedom of speech. I’ve learned that if you make a potentially defamatory statement, you give up the right to remain anonymous.
I do have the IP addresses of the person making the potentially defamatory comments. Despite my love of freedom of expression, privacy and free speech, I will be legally obligated to release the information I have.
I’ve limited the release to the specific IP addresses which made potentially defamatory allegations, and I hope the WordPress people will be able to do the same, to protect people’s identities who made other comments about the seminar.
This hassle is one of the down sides of running a blog that gets somewhat popular. If you type it “Get Motivated Seminar” in a Google search, the phrase “Get Motivated Seminar Compaints” comes up as one of the most frequent search phrases, and if you click that, my web site is one of the top search results. I did not know that until very recently.
The post about the seminar is one of over 10,000 I have done over the years on my blog. I do get an email every time someone makes a comment, but when I’m busy and if they are lengthy, there are times that I don’t read them. The whole system of people posting comments is automated. I don’t have to do anything and anyone in the world who can reach my blog can make comments.
See my past post about this lawsuit.