Directory:Akahele/Ron Livingston battles phantom defendant
Over the past few days, we've become aware of actor Ron Livingston's agency taking legal action to protect his biography on Wikipedia and his personality on Facebook from the malicious efforts of a pseudonymous attacker seeking to defame (or, if not defame, then at least irritate) Livingston by saying he is in a gay relationship with casting director Lee Dennison.
The thing is, Livingston is not gay.
And "Lee Dennison" doesn't exist.
Interestingly, the community at Wikipedia Review has done most of the detective work for lawyer Chad Fitzgerald, whether he knew about it or not. It appears that the accused "John Doe" is actually one Mark Binmore, if even that is a real name.
Attorney Ben Sheffner has also commented on the legal brief and the related common tragedy of events like this -- both the mainstream and the gossip media typically botch the details of any legal case involving the Internet. Why is that? Why do Internet issues having anything to deal with privacy and defamation seem so difficult to accurately report in the media? Maybe it's because most reporters have a mistaken understanding that on the Internet people are good, they don't lie, they say who they are, and they don't spread falsehoods deliberately. Well, wake up. Thanks to Section 230, I'm beginning to think that generally speaking, on the Internet the opposite is actually true.
People are bad. They lie. They don't say who they are. And they spread falsehoods deliberately.
3 Responses to Ron Livingston battles phantom defendant
“People are bad. They lie. They don’t say who they are. And they spread falsehoods deliberately.”
Umm, a *few* people. We’re not all like that .
Once upon a time, human beings invented the art of crafting make-believe stories. For many centuries, these make-believe stories were the primary means of transmitting cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.
In the 20th Century, the art of crafting make-believe stories evolved from the bardic arts to become high-tech multimedia presentations in radio dramas, motion pictures, and television.
Now the entertainment industry is learning how to exploit the Internet to raise make-believe to the next level. Just as Sasha Baron-Cohen has demonstrated how to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality, so too have many erstwhile performers turned to the Internet to do the same.
Ron Livinsgton may be a real actor who appears in conventional entertainment media, wherein he portrays a fictional character in a fictional world. But through the artifice of Wikipedia and the Internet, the invisible hand of yet another mysterious author has produced a fantastic episode that bridges the misty divide between fact and fiction.
We would all be wise to heed these sage words of advice:
“Be ye not bamboozled.” –The Big Bamboozler
It’s the Casting Director Lee Dennison Story! at Wikipedia Review: Opinions and Editorials [...] picked up by most of the entertainment media, none of whom made any initial attempts to investigate whether or not “Lee Dennison” actually existed. (Ironically, because it bore no copyright, [...]