Being Threatened With Lawsuit for Writing a Review

Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:42 pm

I'm hoping someone has had a similar experience and can tell me if I really have anything to worry about.

A few months ago I posted a review about a product called IBSoftshop run by Joe E. Clayton. (You can see the complete review at:

The review wasn't favorable, but I tried to be very factual about my experience. Now I'm being threatened with a lawsuit if I don't take the review off my website. (You can see a copy of the threatening email at the URL above.)

I really want to keep the review up, if possible, because it serves as a warning to others before they get involved with the product. In fact, several people have sent me email thanking me for the review or expressing a similar experience.

Can anyone offer me some advice?

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Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:08 am

Where I live, a reviewer is entitled to use "fair comment", as long as everything you say is strictly honest, which is what you appear to be doing. I assume the law is similar where you live.

However, I see you've published the correspondence you've received from the company. I reckon that's overstepping the mark.

Do you have the right to publish their letters? I doubt it. Everything written automatically has copyright on it and you certainly don't own the copyright to their letters. It's a private communication which should stay private.

I think it would be better to briefly summarize the main facts. You could do this without losing anything of importance.

One thing you may want to consider is that if legal action is taken on this case, you've worsened your position by linking to the article you wrote after you were asked to remove it.

You could improve your position by telling the company that you're willing to publish their side of the story. That would be fair.

(Disclaimer: I haven't studied libel laws in your country. This can't possibly be legal advice. It's for entertainment only.)

Another thought: All your assets should NOT be in your name. A good lawyer and/or accountant can give you advice on how to protect your assets in case you're sued.
Site Admin
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Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:05 pm

Wouldn't the review be covered under the act that protects "opinions" in the form of free speech for internet users? Man... what is the name of that act... sorry, just can't remember. For example, if UserA posts a message in a forum about UserB (or any person for that matter) then UserB cannot sue UserA or the webmaster. I think any lawyer would squash that case really fast if they know anything about the field.
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Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:12 am

It is very surprising when someone one to take legal action when we were just reviewing their service or product.

I know some people simply comment John Doe's product because they don't like him because of personal vendetta, but I think your case is quite different.

You actually experience it and want the public to know about it. I think there's nothing wrong with that. If they want to take legal action regarding your review, let them do it. I don't think they can win anything. Keep up the good work.

Take Eric Holmlund for example, I just love his newsletter. Why? It is simply because he actually used the product and review it. Then he will give a good and BAD review as well of the product. I don't think any marketer actually do that.
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Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:24 am

I would think that choosing to fight this type of fight dips into the opportunity cost arena. What business are you missing out on while fighting a war of principles?
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Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:29 pm

This is a great topic, because I plan to review certain products and services on my soon-to-be-launched website. I recently hired an eCommerce attorney and asked him if I could legally review products. If I remember correctly, he seemed to think that it was OK if I give a personal opinion about a product I have personally used. He also said something about the language. Honestly, I didn't pay too close attention because this was more of an introductory meeting and I have not actually put this into practice yet. But please don't quote me on this, and, just as Allan said, I am not an attorney and this is NOT legal advice. I hope you will give us an update about how this plays out! I'd be happy to give you the name and number of my lawyer. He's REALLY tuned in to eCommerce/Internet law PLUS he worked in IT for almost 10 years before he became an attorney. His fees are reasonable, as well (as far as lawyers go). :wink:

Good luck!
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:50 pm

I don't think theres anything wrong with what you're doing...but to be on the safe side I would run it by a lawyer.
Big D
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:28 pm

Hi Chris26, I see your post was made just over two years ago. Was the threatened lawsuit merely a threat? Did a lawsuit eventuate?
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Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:09 pm

I'm wondering the same thing. Update??
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Dead Issue Or Not

Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:25 pm

How did this come up again if it's two years old.

Emails are free to send.

Letters from an attorney cost a few hundred dollars.

Actual lawsuits cost thousands, both to start and to defend against.

If this is a US court you could be driven crazy and broke if you are sued by someone with 'deep pockets' and the intent to harm you financially. Who is right or who wins (if anyone ever does), is totally irrelevant.

I believe in Europe they have some type of protection against frivolous lawsuits.
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