Inaccurate, false, defamatory and hurtful content can be found everywhere you look on the internet and the media in general. Because such content is frequently sent out into the world anonymously, it’s easy to assume there’s nothing you can do about it. However, in many cases there is. We specialize in handling cases involving media law. And we have a proven track record in successfully taking action against wrongful publications on the internet.
Having wrongful content removed
False accusations, inaccurate reviews or other wrongful statements made online or in print can cause tremendous damage to reputation – yours or your company’s. Such damage can very quickly lead to loss of business and even bankruptcy. When you discover such content, you have to act quickly. The longer these statements remain online, the more they begin to take on a life of their own. And once they have been online for a while, they tend to come up higher and higher in search results as time goes on.
The consideration of whether a statement is actionable involves a weighing of the right to freedom of expression against your right to protection of your reputation and good name. The result of this weighing of interests will depend very much on the exact circumstances of the case. On the one hand, everyone must be entitled to express a critical, informative opinion based on facts and actual experiences in the interest of warning other consumers and members of society; on the other, no member of society can be casually exposed to insults, unfounded accusations, suspicions and scandalous publicity.
When injurious statements become tortious (actionable), we focus first and foremost on getting the statements removed, if necessary via the hosting provider, platform or other service provider. To the extent necessary and possible we also focus on determining the identity of the person or persons responsible. When successful, these cases often result in a rectification, compensation of damages and/or a prohibition on making comparable statements in the future, along with penalties. In the case of damaging articles in newspapers and print media, publishers can be forced to make reference to the ruling against them in their archives. This prevents you from having to deal with the repercussions of the original, damaging article remaining in physical or online archives in the years to come.
Taking action against statements online
If you are the victim of libel via a website, blog or social media posts, our first recommendation is that you document the evidence in an adequate manner. One way to do this is by using our bewijsonline.nl service. When it comes to legal action, a simple screenshot will generally not be sufficient as evidence; but if you submit your screenshot to us via bewijsonline.nl, we ensure that an appropriate official report of the observation authenticated by a court bailiff is attached to it.
Taking action against statements made by e-mail
In the case of e-mails, the relationship between the actual sender and the recipient plays an important role. If it is a relationship of a particular significance, like a business relationship, this type of conduct would be more likely to be characterized as tort. Whatever the situation, it is always unlawful to impersonate someone else in electronic communication. This includes, but is not limited to, using a gmail or any other free e-mail address that exhibits a great deal of similarity to the name of the intended victim, creating the impression that the e-mail comes from that person.
If you are the victim of libel by e-mail, it is important that you preserve the original e-mail in electronic form. This file will contain essential data needed to provide evidence and will definitely be required to determine the identity of the anonymous sender.
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