Nowadays, everyone who uses social networking services is at risk of online slander. Many of us have probably seen our favorite artists being attacked by multiple strangers.
Many people wonder why they do such things, but the attackers are often unaware of what they are doing. Many people wonder why they would do such a thing, but the attackers are often unaware of it. Most people think that they are just saying the right things, and some even think that they are saying them for their own good.
What kind of people repeatedly make malicious posts on the Internet? How can I sue them? What happens if I am sued?
We spoke with an attorney from the law firm of Authense, which has handled many cases of online slander, about the realities and measures to take when you are slandered.
They have conceded out of fear of a criminal record.
According to an attorney at Authense, “It is difficult to say because some people are quite normal and others are not. The ratio of male to female perpetrators does not seem to make much difference.
The lawyer from Authense gave us an example of a case he was asked to handle by YouTuber Mr. A. Mr. A has been popular for several years for his hobby-related videos and has developed an original brand with his own company, but as he became more successful, his online antagonists grew in number.
One of the most persistent was B, a man in his 40s, who continued to post baseless rumors in the comments section of Mr. A’s YouTube videos and on Twitter, such as “A is on drugs,” “A is a fraud,” and “A’s company is in violation of the 0x Law. It appears that he was using multiple accounts on Twitter.
After his identity was revealed through a disclosure request, it seems that he thought it was a bad idea and stopped writing defamatory posts about Mr. A.
In addition, it is by no means easy to track down the information of the sender of a slanderous statement.’ Although the Provider Liability Limitation Law was revised in the fall of 2010 and the procedures for information disclosure have been somewhat improved, it still seems to be out of the hands of amateurs.
It is particularly difficult to identify posters on Twitter. Since IP addresses at the time of posting are not stored, only information at the time of login is relied upon, but only the information of the subscriber of the line can be disclosed. In this case, the person who posted and the subscriber did not match.
The settlement offered to B from Mr. A’s side was 3.5 million yen. Initially, the other party said, “I can only pay 200,000 yen,” but when the criminal complaint for defamation was accepted and became the subject of an investigation, he conceded, “I will pay up to 3 million yen.
The reason he raised the amount was probably because of the possibility of a “criminal record. If he is fined on summary indictment, it will be a ‘criminal record’ and it will follow him for the rest of his life,” said Authense’s lawyer.
In the end, however, the two sides could not come to an agreement on the amount, so Mr. A filed a civil suit for damages. The fee that was finally settled was approximately 800,000 yen. However, Mr. B said he could not pay it because he was unemployed and had no money. Was he lying when he said he would pay up to 3 million yen?
Authense’s lawyer speculates, “Since he already had a ‘criminal record,’ he may have reopened the matter. Maybe he was supposed to ask his relatives to pay, but they refused after it was confirmed that he had a criminal record. Since there is a strong possibility that not a single yen will be paid at this point, they plan to apply for compulsory execution to recover as much money as possible in the future.”
In the first place, why did B repeat the slander against Mr. A so persistently? When Authense’s lawyer later asked the other party’s representative (attorney), he received a surprising answer.
Mr. B’s representative said , “Maybe he started with some sense of justice and couldn’t stop. I am not sure why.”
Perhaps Mr. A’s success at a young age and his popularity in the media made him a little snobbish. Still, it is difficult for a third party to understand B’s act of attacking a complete stranger on the Internet.
For the details of how this case was settled, please refer to <Part 2>Is it a Lie that “You Can Make Money by Sueing for Disclosure”? A current lawyer talks about the harsh reality that “slander trials” can result in losses.
Commentary： Authense Law Offices
A general law firm with its main office in Minato-ku, Tokyo.
Interview and text by： Reiko Otsuka