The recent case of a Columbia grad, Carla Franklin, seeking to have YouTube release the identity of an anonymous user who posted defamatory comments and videos about her has reignited the debate over internet users’ right to privacy:
According to the New York Post, Franklin’s lawyer David Fish says that the ex-model has a “fairly good idea who was doing this, but we want to make 100 percent sure before we file the suit.” They have turned to a Manhattan judge in order to get Google and YouTube to uncover the identity of this anonymous YouTuber so that Franklin can take legal action against him and prevent similar incidents from happening to her in the future.
Despite the seeming novelty of this situation, there already exists a fairly large volume of caselaw which supports Ms. Franklin’s efforts to reveal her defamer’s identity.
In Doe v. Cahill, 884 A.2d 451 (2005), the Delaware Supreme court applied the Modified Dendrite Test to analyze whether plaintiff satisfied what amounted to a summary judgment standard for defamation to warrant the release of an anonymous blogger’s identity. While such a standard is fairly difficult to meet, many states have already applied it to release identities in “obvious” cases for defamation.
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