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Defamation Action Against Unknown Publishers

Legally reviewed by:
Wyn Legal team

It is not uncommon for the identity of a publisher to be unknown where the statements published are likely to be defamatory. This is becoming a particular problem as social media and review sites grow in popularity and it becomes easier to set up fake online profiles.

We can assist clients who have been defamed by an unknown publisher and secure the removal of content from social media and more traditional forms of media. There are a number of ways in which we deal with defamatory material where the publisher is unknown which include (but are not limited to):

  1. Liaising with the internet service providers, content hosts, operators of bulletin boards and online publishers with the view of negotiating the removal of defamatory material. We ensure our request letters are robust, make reference to any applicable policy or law and make clear the consequences if we do not get a response to our letter.
  2. If necessary, applying to the court to compel the internet service provider or online publisher to disclose the identities of the original author via a Norwich Pharmacal Application.
  3. An application to the court ordering a social media company to not only delete specific postings to which they have been alerted, which have been found to be illegal, but also to delete identical posts and subject to certain restrictions to search for and delete identical posts.

Our solicitors can help you:

  1. Identify and engage with the internet service providers, content hosts, operators of bulletin boards and online publishers.
  2. Draft  preliminary request letters to have the defamatory content removed.
  3. Consider making a court application including a Norwich Pharmacal Application.
  4. Once the identity of the publisher has been identified, proceeding with defamatory proceedings.
  5. If necessary, instruct reputation consultants to rebuild any damaged reputation.