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Standing Up To Cyber Bullies
Businesses, political candidates, public figures and private individuals have become victims of so-called cybersmears, online defamation, flamers and cyber bullies. Here are resources to stop the bullies in their tracks.Education
A joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics, Chilling Effects Clearinghouse provides information to anyone who has felt the sting of an online attack and offers guidelines to help website publishers guard against lawsuits that could result. Starting with "What is Defamation?", The Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about Defamation page is particularly helpful to understanding how online freedom of speech can turn into an illegal cyber attack.
Cyber bullying can constitute a computer crime. For example, in the United States it is a federal crime to anonymously "annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person" via the internet or telecommunication system, punishable by a fine and/or up to two years imprisonment. Indeed, the National Crime Prevention Council recently launched a public service campaign aimed preventing cyber bullying among teenagers. Civil cases, especially among adults, may involve defamation or libel. Public figures will also need to prove malice. Often these matters can be remedied through the civil courts or with a letter from an attorney to the alleged offending party.
LegalMatch.com provides an online service where you can submit your case to pre-screened attorneys for free evaluation. A lawsuit may not be necessary. A letter from one of these attorneys could have a chilling effect on all but the most recalcitrant cyber bully. The service is free and confidential
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