Sooner or later it happens. You posted what you felt was an honest and candid comment about somebody or something. Next thing your know, you're receiving shrill emails from somebody (not even somebody necessarily mentioned in you comment) who is threatening all sorts of legal action against you. Or even scarier, you made a negative remark about some company's product or service, and you receive an email a few days later from some law firm demanding you remove your post, issue a public apology, and turn over your domain to them (possibly with a certain number of dollars for their time and trouble) - or face banishment, a bad haircut, total destruction of all you hold dear in your life, and permanent revocation of your town library card.
What to do? What to do?
Attorney Ken White (chief ogre over at Popehat) posted a very good article on how to handle yourself - and what to do (and even more importantly not
do) if you're ever receive a threat that somebody intends to file a "defamation" or "libel" suit against for something you (supposedly) said or posted online.
Link to the article is here
. Ken has requested "no scraping" from his site. But I think I'm ok with quoting one brief section from his much longer article which I recommend reading in full.
...Criminal defense attorneys like me tell our clients about something we call the Martha Stewart Rule: lots of people get into trouble not because the did something wrong, but because they heard they were being investigated for doing something wrong, and they panicked and started lying and deleting files and setting cabinetry on fire and making angry statements to the press and generally venting their agitation. They go to jail for stuff they did when they lost control over themselves, or they go to jail because in their panic they generated new evidence of prior wrongdoing....