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Defending Cyber-Space

"Why write I still all one, ever the same, 
  And keep invention in a noted weed, 
  That every word doth almost tell my name"
William Shakespeare
Sonnet 76 
There is social value in free, open, even raucous, debate. The Constitution protects that. There is no social value in malevolent lies intended to do harm. Free speech is no defense to intentionally inflicted, malicious injury. "Flaming" and other outrageous personal attacks are a fact of life on the Internet. Fun's fun, but injury's injury. The structure of the Internet can protect pseudonymous character assassins from the normal consequences of their actions. Sometimes.

From out of nowhere comes a vicious, malicious attack. The scurried truth may be bad enough, but often there are out right lies. The identity of the assailant may be hidden behind blind internet addresses or remailers who are in the business of protecting anonymous correspondents. It may seem hopeless.

But it isn't. Techniques pioneered by Vasaar Professor Don Foster may be applied. Foster is the the literary detective who identified Joe Klein as the anonymous author of "Primary Colors" long before Klein was forced to admit his authorship. As Shakespeare lamented, the anonymous author can be identified because every word may tell his name. E-Mail origins can often be traced and at least domestic remailers are not beyond the reach of court process.

There are other cyber-space problems including theft of trade marks and copyright violations that bedevil but may be more amenable to legal redress than one might think. Of course, if you wish to place valuable work on the internet or protect even personal information from theft, there are preventive steps you may take.

No one need be helpless in the face of cyber-space onslaught. What is required is elbow grease, intelligent analysis and maybe, just maybe, a little luck. A good lawyer doesn't hurt either.

Every cyber-case may be different, but there are remedies available. If you have a problem and require professional assistance, contact me.

E-Mail: johnklotz@johnklotz.com Return to Klotz Law Homepage