When does it make sense to spend the time and expense necessary to determine the identity of an anonymous blogger who is damaging the company?
This question is becoming increasingly important with the proliferation of blogs and Web postings for corporate criticism — from wakeupwalmart.com to www.googlereallysucks.blogspot.com. And whether companies and their in-house counsel pursue actions against bloggers in these cases involves more than the usual assessment of opportunity costs and the pure business interests of the company. There are limits to the rights of companies to compel an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to reveal the name of its customer, particularly when the ISP customer wishes to remain anonymous. This article explores what the courts are requiring companies to show before they will call for an ISP to divulge a blogger’s identity and provides some guidelines in evaluating whether to pursue such a strategy.
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