Nearly 50 years ago, the United States Supreme Court established that public figures must prove actual malice in order to recover damages for libel. What the high court couldn’t foresee was the invention of Twitter and how celebrities like Courtney Love would use social media.
The tweet in question came by Love in June of 2010. It read:
“I was fucking devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off @FairNewsSpears perhaps you can get a quote.”
In 2008, amidst a financial meltdown in the world’s markets and a good deal of public discussion on how banks had precipitated the crisis through shaky mortgage deals, Love became convinced that a fraud had been perpetuated by the moneymen on the estate of Kurt Cobain, the late Nirvana frontman and Love’s widow.
Love then met with an Holmes about a potential lawsuit, but the lawsuit was never filed. This this the issue that prompted the tweet by Love.
On Friday, Judge Johnson gets to weigh in. A trial has been scheduled for Jan. 13. A jury could be tasked with figuring out the best way to read Love’s tweet, or if defamation has been already established by the judge, what damages are incurred on a statement that is tweeted and then re-tweeted. The judge also has to figure out how much of Love’s other conduct and tweets — some of which have compelled more litigation — are going to be heard by a jury. Unfortunately, about the only thing that seems certain is that Love won’t get to live-tweet the proceedings.
For the Full Article, check out The Hollywood Reporter
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