is reporting from
Steal Your Face: Lawsuits Increase over Fake Social Networking Profiles
Jordan Yerman | June 6, 2008 at 05:53 amby
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We think of our teachers as "old", but they are the age we are now, teaching our kids, who are the same age we were then... In other words, this generation of teachers is part of the core demographic of social networking.
Specifically, plaintiffs are suing individuals who are creating fake profiles of them, replete with derogatory comments, obscenities, unflattering photographs and, in some cases, sexually offensive information.
The litigation has sparked an intense debate over the First Amendment, with some attorneys claiming that online bashing through fake profiles is protected free speech, particularly when it's a parody, satire or criticism. Others argue that online imposters are ruining lives, stealing identities and engaging in defamation.
In Texas, an assistant principal is suing two students over a MySpace page that falsely depicted her as a promiscuous lesbian with a sex problem, listed her phone number and where she worked, and contained obscene comments, pictures and graphics. Draker v. Schreiber, No. 4-07-00692-cv (Texas App. — San Antonio).
Murphy S. Klasing, who is representing the assistant principal in Texas suing over a fake MySpace profile, called fake Internet profiles a form of "cyberterrorism" that don't warrant First Amendment protection.
"I don't think the constitution protects somebody who is lying about their identity and pretending to be someone else and painting them in some false light," said Klasing of the Houston office of Austin, Texas-based McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore.
I'd like to thank Techdirt for the heads-up on this article. Thanks, Techdirt.