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Yelp Fights Back Against Carpet Cleaning Service That Sued Anonymous Critics …

First, Mike doesn’t highlight that plaintiff is a corporation and — presumably — the commenters are persons. But that’s important: corporations don’t suffer except “economically”, so in my view have MUCH less right to demand the names of persons wishing anonymity.

2nd is the interesting tangles for Yelp, which has now inserted itself as at least advocate for the (presumed) persons, thereby, in my view, losing the safe harbor protections. It’s such a dicey position that Yelp must be either digging in on a basic principle they need for their biz, OR are somehow more involved.

It’s a tangle that could be kept together only IF Yelp proved to judge that commenters are indeed real persons without revealing names to Hadeed — and of course if that can’t be proved, may expose Yelp to serious liability for both contempt and fabrication!

I won’t venture a guess at this point. I certainly don’t like anonymity of persons stripped in favor of a mere fictional economic entity, BUT that does have a limit, AND there may not be any real comments. May be some procedure for such in-chamber showing without revealing to plaintiff, which Law Student Mike should know.

Bottom line for me is that IF the TRUTH of the comments isn’t contested, then there’s NO standing to get the names, it’s JUST for intimidation.

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Mystic Maggie

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