Hot Chicks with lawyers

In my high-minded discussion of the ethics of blogging I overlooked one obvious hazard of casually appropriating the private details of other people’s lives; getting sued.

That truth has found Jay Louis though, now that he’s on the receiving end of a lawsuit in connection with the book of his blog “Hot Chicks with Douchebags“. It’s interesting that he wasn’t sued over the website itself, presumably because potential plaintiffs need a defendant with some serious money, like publisher Simon & Schuster, before they can persuade a lawyer to take on the case.

I can’t see the suit succeeding, since even someone like me, whose knowledge of the US legal system is entirely based on watching “LA Law” and “Ally McBeal“, knows that the First Amendment protects the right to shower ridicule on your fellow citizens. I guess the claimants – who allege that their appearance in the book has left them needing medical treatment and psychological therapy – are hoping that S&S will settle out of court to avoid the bad publicity. (Or perhaps not; I had it in my mind that Simon and Schuster were a classy operation, but they do publish literary gems like the “Douchebag” book and “Hooking up with Tila Tequila“, so I may be mistaken).

I don’t think anyone could seriously claim that their real-life reputation was damaged by their Second Life activities appearing online, and, even if they did, I believe that Linden Labs have been doing their best to establish that Second Life disputes fall under the jurisdiction of the US courts, so I’ll be able to assert my Constitutional rights. I’m sure that James Madison would approve.

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