As a reputation management pioneer, Nick has the inside scoop on all things Reputation Management. This blog will focus on Reputation, practices, technologies, providers and re-shared content from some of the preeminent players in the industry. We hope you enjoy!

Posts By: Curator

How To Submit a Court Order to Google

Google has a few different ways to remove something legally from their index. If you have obtained a court order with the help of our Profile Defenders then please allow us to submit the court order on your behalf. It is very possible that you may try to submit the order on your own and will accidentally do something wrong.

The URL that you will end up at for submitting a defamation claim removal with a proper judgement signed and stamped by a Judge:

While at this url you would input your information, name, email, if you are an attorney acting on somebodys behalf, and the ability to upload a copy of the court order to be reviewed for removal.

If you need assistance removing something permanantly online that is defamatory about you then please contact the profile defenders today for help.

Source: Profile Defenders

Criminal Defamation in the United States: A 2015 Update

criminal defamation
2015 US Criminal Defamation Update

Georgia Erased Its Criminal Defamation Statute

During the 2014-2015 legislative session, via House Bill 252, Georgia representatives finally axed several statutes that have little businesses existing in the 21st century – and one of those decrees was the State’s criminal defamation law.

It’s been a Long Time since Georgia Threw Anyone in Jail for Defamation in Georgia

Though the criminal defamation law has remained on Georgia’s law books, it has not been used since the 1982 case, Williamson v. Georgia. At that time, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that felonious slander and libel laws contradicted the state constitution. But despite the Williamson ruling, the laws stayed on the books.

Criminal Slander and Libel across the United States


Colorado also repealed its criminal defamation statute in 2012. Officials in the Centennial State quickly erased the law after the District Attorney’s office was forced to shell out about $425,000 on account of a criminal libel warrant gone terribly wrong.

SCOTUS’ Take on Criminal Defamation

Though the Supreme Court of the United States has not banned criminal defamation statutes on a federal level, in its Garrison v. Louisiana, the court strongly suggested that those types of slander and libel laws had no place in modern society.

States that Still Have Criminal Defamation Laws

Several states continue to keep criminal defamation laws on the books including Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and North Carolina. That said, having such statutes on the books doesn’t mean they’re evoked. It’s been a long, long time since someone has been successfully charged with criminal slander or libel in the United States.

Speak With a Defamation Lawyer

Aaron Kelly, partner at Kelly Warner maintains, a 10-out-of-10 rating on lawyer review website AVVO, in addition to a preeminent rating with venerated attorney ranking group, Martindale-Hubbell.

As one of the first firms to focus on Internet defamation, the libel lawyers at Kelly Warner know exactly how to approach all manners of online defamation cases – involving both businesses and individuals.

Fixing an Internet defamation issue is sometimes a lot easier than you may assume – and a lot less expensive. Get in touch today. Tell us about your situation. We’ll be able to guide you in the right direction, which isn’t always a lawsuit.

Article Sources

Duffy, M. (2015, August 12). Death of Georgia’s criminal defamation law. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from

Source: Kelly Warner Law

App Users Aren’t “Subscribers” Under the VPPA–Ellis v. Cartoon Network

Many VPPA cases involve free online streaming services. Here, plaintiff alleged that he downloaded the Cartoon Network app, and Cartoon Network then disclosed to Bango, an ad network, plaintiff’s device ID and the videos he viewed. Plaintiff also alleged that Bango easily could derive his identity and thus knew both his identity and the videos he viewed.

The district court rejected plaintiff’s arguments, concluding that plaintiff was a “subscriber” of Cartoon Network, but it did not disclose personally identifiable information to Bango. (Blog post on the district court ruling here: “Android ID Isn’t Personally Identifiable Information Under the Video Privacy Protection Act“.) The Eleventh Circuit affirms on alternate grounds, holding that the plaintiff wasn’t a “subscriber.” Reviewing the case law, the Eleventh Circuit says the following about a subscription relationship:

The dictionary definitions of the term “subscriber” we have quoted above have a common thread. And that common thread is that “subscription” involves some type of commitment, relationship, or association (financial or otherwise) between a person and an entity. As one district court succinctly put it: “Subscriptions involve some or [most] of the following [factors]: payment, registration, commitment, delivery, [expressed association,] and/or access to restricted content.” Yershov, 2015 WL 2340752, at *9. See also Austin-Spearman, 2015 WL 1539052, at *6 (“Whatever the nature of the specific exchange, what remains is the subscriber’s deliberate and durable affiliation with the provider: whether or not for payment, these arrangements necessarily require some sort of ongoing relationship between provider and subscriber, one generally undertaken in advance and by affirmative action on the part of the subscriber, so as to supply the provider with sufficient personal information to establish the relationship and exchange.”).

The court says this ongoing affiliation is lacking here. While the district court relied on the Hulu case for a broad reading of the term “subscriber,” the court says this was incorrect. In the Hulu case, the subscriber created an account and profiles, which is not the case here.


There have been a slew of attempts to hold online service providers liable under the VPPA, but aside from the Beacon lawsuit (which settled), all others have failed. The net result has been unhelpful for privacy advocates because the rulings have limited the VPPA’s reach.

This ruling is common-sensical and provides some much-needed clarity to service providers (perhaps too little too late). There is an argument to be made that downloading an app creates a relationship that is different from merely surfing a website, for example because it may allow (at the user’s election) notifications and updates. Media entities have poured significant resources into developing apps with the hopes of building up subscriber bases. There’s an argument that from their point of view (and perhaps from the average consumer’s as well) people who download apps should be considered subscribers.

Eric’s Comment: the VPPA was a highly specific solution to a narrow problem. It’s unfortunate–and entirely predictable–to see plaintiffs’ lawyers try to stretch this focused solution to cover new technological situations that bear little resemblance to the initial problem motivating the VPPA in the first place; and it’s heartening to see judges not falling for it, even if they have to do highly technical grammar parsing to reach that result. Still, I bet many consumers would be shocked that using Cartoon Network’s app could lead to their reidentification by a third party ad network. It’s hard not to think less of the Cartoon Network brand based on how they handled that relationship.

Case citation: Ellis v. The Cartoon Network, Inc., 2015 WL 5904760 (11th Cir. Oct. 9, 2015)

Related posts:

9th Circuit Rejects VPPA Claims Against Netflix For Intra-Household Disclosures

Court Rejects VPPA Claim Against Viacom and Google Based on Failure to Disclose Identity

Court Says Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Pursue Failure-to-Purge Claim Under the VPPA – Sterk v. Best Buy

Judge Dismisses Claims Against Pandora for Violating Michigan’s Version of the VPPA – Deacon v. Pandora Media

Ninth Circuit Rejects Video Privacy Protection Act Claims Against Sony

AARP Defeats Lawsuit for Sharing Information With Facebook and Adobe

Lawsuit Fails Over Ridesharing Service’s Disclosures To Its Analytics Service–Garcia v. Zimride

Android ID Isn’t Personally Identifiable Information Under the Video Privacy Protection Act

Minors’ Privacy Claims Against Viacom and Google Over Disclosure of Video Viewing Habits Dismissed

Video Privacy Protection Act Plaintiffs Can Proceed Against Hulu Absent Showing of Actual Injury

Judge Boots Privacy Lawsuit Against Pandora but Plaintiffs Can Replead – Yunker v. Pandora

Split 9th Circuit Panel Approves Facebook Beacon Settlement – Lane v. Facebook

No Privacy Claim Against Netflix for Disclosing Viewing Histories and Instant Queue Titles Through Netflix-Enabled Devices — Mollett v. Netflix

Court Declines to Dismiss Video Privacy Protection Act Claims against Hulu

Granick on CISPA’s Deficiencies (With Some of My Own Comments)

Seventh Circuit: No Private Cause of Action Under the Video Privacy Protection Act for Failure to Purge Information–Sterk v. Redbox

Jan.-Feb. 2012 Quick Links, Part 6 (Privacy and more)

Redbox Can be Liable Under the Video Privacy Protection Act for Failure to Purge Video Rental Records — Sterk v. Redbox

Beacon Class Action Settlement Approved — Lane v. Facebook

Source: Goldman Legal

32% of recruiters check a candidate’s social profile, most rejections are due to lying on their resume


adecco work trendsIt’s common for a company to check up on a potential employee but according to a new report from Adecco, those potential employees are now using social to do a little checking of their own.

To create the 2015 Adecco Work Trends Study, Adecco surveyed more than 31,000 job seekers and more than 4,000 recruiters in 26 countries.

35% of job seekers said they use social media networks to contract potential employers. The most widely used network was LinkedIn with seekers using it to send their resume, network with others in the industry, search for open positions and apply for work.

Once a company shows some interest, the job seekers leave LinkedIn and head to Facebook to see what others are saying about the company, the recruiter or their would-be boss.

On the other side, 32% of recruiters said they ask candidates about their social media presence and that number rises to 42% for Asian companies. Eastern European companies are also more interested in a candidates social media history with America coming in 3rd on the “social media concerned” scale.

28% of recruiters said they had rejected candidates due to something they found on social. You might think inappropriate photos would be reason number one, but it’s actually evidence of lying on their resume that got 54% removed from the short list.

Rejecting candidatesUnfortunately, Adecco didn’t ask job seekers if they’d ever turned down a job based on a company’s poor reputation. They do say that 72% of job seekers use Google to find out more about a company with only 10% turning to sites that rate companies such as Glassdoor. Even fewer (a meager 1.7%) admitted to ever writing an online company review.

The takeaway for companies; if you’re interested in hiring the very best employees in your field, make sure your current and former employees have only nice things to say about you online.
Source: Reputation Refinery


The Perkins v. LinkedIn Class Action Settlement Notification Was Badly Bungled (Forbes Cross-Post)

Recently, millions of LinkedIn users received an email titled “LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.” The email told recipients about a proposed class action settlement in Perkins v. LinkedIn, involving “LinkedIn’s alleged improper use of a service called ‘Add Connections’ to grow its member base.”

This email attempted to inform the purported victims of their settlement options. Class members can ask for cash from a settlement fund, opt-out of the settlement and pursue an individual lawsuit, communicate their objections to the settlement and hope the judge reforms its terms or scuttles it entirely, or do nothing. The email also links to a class action settlement-specific website that provides more details.

Communicating with a large class of millions of victims is never easy, but this particular notification was handled particularly poorly. Let me highlight six problems with the notification:

1) Sending the notification on late Friday afternoon. As every PR executive (and the NSA and FBI) knows, if you want to deliver bad or embarrassing news, do so on late Friday afternoon. Any press outlet covering the news immediately will run their stories on Saturday, when readership is lowest, or will do a recap on Monday, when the news feels a little stale. By delivering the email on late Friday afternoon, LinkedIn seemingly minimized any bad press related to the Add Connections feature and case settlement.

However, delivering an email on late Friday afternoon almost certainty reduces email readership. Late Friday afternoon is a time when many people have schedule conflicts, such as traveling, family and social gatherings, and observing Shabbat. The emails aren’t likely to be opened immediately, so they will get buried under new emails accruing over the weekend. If the sender’s goal is to reduce the number of people who open the email, late Friday afternoon is a fine choice. (As this article explains, “Weekends tend to have low open rates, so most marketers avoid them like the plague”). Thus, the timing of the Perkins v. LinkedIn settlement notice probably didn’t maximize class members’ awareness of their legal rights.

(Note: the settlement notification in the Facebook Sponsored Stories case was also sent late Friday afternoon, presumably for the same reasons).

2) Terrible subject line. Email subject lines create the email’s first impression to recipients, so they require special finesse. This particular subject line wasn’t handled skillfully. The subject line was written in ALL CAPS (a usability no-no), starts with the scary words “legal notice,” and opaquely indicates a “settlement of class action.” Based solely on the subject line, this email looks like a possible phishing attack similar to a Nigerian 419 email scam; or it looks like part of a trolling campaign where plaintiffs (like copyright owners) threaten Internet users with litigation that can be settled for a low amount. We’ve taught email users to delete phishing attempts without opening the email, and other recipients might ignore the email hoping any trolling demand just goes away. As a result, the subject line discouraged email opening.

The email’s real message is that recipients might be entitled to free money. Communicating that message in the subject line would certainly improve email open rates if it could be done without looking like a phishing attack.

3) No notice within LinkedIn. Sending official legal notices via email will always have challenges about subject lines, delivery times, spam filters, etc. As a result, it’s advisable to use additional media to reach class members. Here, it would make sense to notify LinkedIn members about a LinkedIn matter ON LINKEDIN. After all, being a LinkedIn member is the one thing every class member has in common with each other, and a message on LinkedIn would avoid some of the standard email problems. If there was any notification on LinkedIn about the class settlement, I didn’t get it, nor could I find any announcement about the settlement in my LinkedIn newsfeed or an ad widget. I understand why LinkedIn wouldn’t want to communicate with its members about this potentially embarrassing and brand-damaging settlement on its own site, but not using the most logical way to reach class members is baffling.

4) Unclear how to claim the cash. Because most people want the cash, the instructions on how to get it are especially important. Here’s what the email notice said about how to get the cash:

perkins v linkedin screenshot

If you can’t see the image, here’s the key language:

SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM / If the Court gives final approval to the Settlement, this is the only way to be eligible to receive a payment. / Deadline: December 14, 2015

OK, sounds good, I’d like to do this, and I’m worried about the scary deadline. Now what? The email itself provides no further instructions on how to “submit a claim form,” nor does the email provide a direct link to the claim form even though that would be easy to do (plus the email confusingly provides a series of unrelated links immediately above this language). Eventually, anyone determined enough to get the cash will visit the class action settlement website and navigate around to find the link to the claim form. But given most recipients want to know how to get the cash, why did the senders make it so hard to figure that out? And how many people gave up because even this small hurdle was more than they were willing to overcome?

5) Overloaded website. Even if you try to bury the news on late Friday afternoon, if you notify millions of people that they may be entitled to cash, you can reliably predict that the website will get A LOT of traffic. It makes sense to work with a content delivery network and an industrial grade server farm to ensure adequate excess capacity during the initial crush. Instead, this settlement website was not up to the task. Throughout Friday afternoon, it was so overloaded that I couldn’t access the website at all in either Chrome or Firefox. The traffic crush has apparently died down, so the website works fine now. But how many class members, unable to access the website when they first opened the email, simply gave up and decided it wasn’t worth the effort?

6) Increased security risks by submitting a claim. The claim form gives two options of how to get paid. The first option visually dominates the form and asks for bank account information so that the cash may be sent electronically. Below that is a second, less visible option to get a check. Moving money electronically will be cheaper and faster for the settlement administrators, so it’s not surprising that this option got prominent billing.

However, all of the personal information gathered from class action settlement claims creates a new security vulnerability; it’s a hacker honeypot. Putting bank account information into that database makes the target much, much juicier to the bad guys, which magnifies the security risk. Perhaps the settlement administrators have such industrial-grade security that it can fend off any attack from the bad guys, but given the avoidable server overload initially, I highly doubt it. Instead, the increased security risk creates an irony: the lawsuit was designed to remedy a purported privacy violation by LinkedIn, but the solution exposes the victims of that alleged privacy violation to additional security risk. I discuss this conundrum in more detail in my article, The Irony of Privacy Class Action Litigation.


I can’t advise you whether or not to tender a claim for cash or pursue the other options. However, if anyone objects to the proposed settlement, the botched execution of the settlement notification has given several new grounds to raise objections. If I were the judge, I would require the parties to redo the emailed settlement notification properly.

I have no opinions about the substantive merits of this particular lawsuit, but I have a general skepticism about the merits of privacy-related class action lawsuits as a way of remedying the purported problems. In this case, I will be keenly watching the number of claims tendered by users, as well as the transaction costs incurred to get money into the alleged victims’ hands, to see if we can declare in the end that justice was served. (For an example of just how out-of-whack these numbers can be, see the Heartland Payment settlement involving 130M purported victims, a 0.00000846153846153846% notification response rate, and about $1k of transaction costs per individual claim tendered). Even if you end up getting a check (probably a few years from now) from LinkedIn to settle this case, ask yourself if you honestly believe that this process and that money was the best way to solve the purported problem.

Source: Goldman Legal