Legal FAQs | Nik Richie + Dirty Army intel, opinions, gossip, satire, and celebrities

Legal FAQs

Q: Someone made false comments about me in a post! Will you remove it?

A: TheDirty.com does not want our users to post false information. However, we are not the truth police. When you contact us and claim that something posted on our site is false, we have no way knowing who is telling the truth — you or the person who submitted the post?

The sad fact is that sometimes people lie. Back in the 1990′s, both President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky denied having a sexual relationship. They both lied. OJ Simpson denied killing his ex-wife. Most people think he was lying. Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong denied using performance enhancing drugs. He lied.

Should we continue?

Look — if someone posts false information on TheDirty.com, we will gladly remove it with one catch — we can’t just accept your word. Instead, we need proof. What kind of proof? A court order/judgment. This means you must go to court and prove that your version of the facts is correct and that the author was lying. If you do that, we will gladly review the court’s order and, subject to our final editorial discretion, remove any material that we deem inappropriate.

To be clear, although it is our policy to comply with any valid/lawful court orders, we can’t promise that we will always do so in every instance. Also, to avoid any confusion caused by cases such as Barnes v. Yahoo!, Inc., 570 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2009), nothing on this page or in our Terms of Service should be construed as a promise to remove any content.

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Q: In my state/country, posting mean stuff on the Internet qualifies as harassment. Is that a good reason to remove my post?

A: Probably not. First of all, the line between free speech and harassment is often extremely subtle. Don’t agree? Just consider this 83-page paper on the subject: Aaron H. Caplan, Free Speech and Civil Harassment Orders, 64 Hastings Law Journal 781 (April 2013).

Don’t have time to read that? OK, here’s a recent ruling from a federal court in Maryland which held, in effect, that stalking/harassment charges could NOT be based on comments the defendant posted on Twitter. See United States v. Cassidy, Case No. 11-cv-00091 (D.Md. Dec. 15, 2011). The court’s decision was based on a very simple idea — if you don’t like something posted on a website, then just ignore it. In other words, the court said the victim could not claim she was harassed because she “had the ability to protect her ‘own sensibilities simply by averting’ her eyes from the Defendant’s Blog and not looking at, or blocking his Tweets.” (quoting United States v. Playboy Entm’t Grp., Inc., 529 U.S. 803, 865 (2000)).

In plain English, there’s a big difference between someone talking TO you vs. talking ABOUT you. If someone repeatedly attempts to contact you directly in a threatening or upsetting manner, that might cross the line into criminal harassment and you should immediately report such conduct to your local police. On the other hand, if someone is simply posting comments about you online that you don’t like, that is usually not sufficient to qualify as harassment because you can simply ignore the comments by not visiting the site.

Unlike law enforcement, our staff is not equipped to investigate or intervene in cases of alleged harassment. For that reason, we can’t remove content or block someone solely because a post might be viewed as harassment.

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Q: What if a post says I have STDs? Can I submit medical records showing that’s false?

A: Yes. If you email us copies of recent test results showing a negative test for the specific STD referenced in your post, we will gladly consider removing that information. To be clear – we will NOT post these records; we will keep them strictly confidential and will use them only for the purpose of determining whether to remove something from a post.

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Q: What about other situations? Will TheDirty.com consider other evidence showing that a post is false?

A: Generally, no. Many posts contain individual opinions (i.e., chocolate is better than vanilla; Coke is better than Pepsi). Opinions can’t be proven false, so don’t even ask. Beyond that, we are simply not in a position to review evidence from both sides to a dispute and then choose which party is telling the truth. Factual disputes should be resolved in court, not by us.

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Q: If you won’t remove my post, my lawyer says I can sue you for $1 million. Will you remove my post now?

A: Ask your lawyer to read this: Jones v. Dirty World, LLC, 755 F.3d 398 (6th Cir. 2014). Then ask your lawyer for a full refund.

Look — in the United States, website owners are generally not liable for content posted by users. If someone posted false information about you on TheDirty, you can always sue the author. But please don’t blame us just because someone else misused our site.

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Q: I don’t care what the law says in the United States. I live in Canada, and we have different laws here. If I threaten to sue in Canada will you remove my post?

A: No. This is technical, but if you file a lawsuit in Canada, any judgment you obtain will be worthless here in the United States. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, check out this article here.

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Q: What about copyrights? If someone posted my photos without permission, will you take them down?

A: We will certainly take a look at the issue. Please review our copyright page for more info.

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Q: If you don’t remove my post, I am seriously going to kill myself. What now?

A: As a matter of policy, ALL threats of suicide are reported to the police. However, we cannot and will not remove content just because a person makes threats. If you or someone you know is actually considering suicide, please seek immediate help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

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Q: I am under 18, I live in California and I posted something by mistake. Will you remove it?

A: The State of California recently passed a new “Online Eraser” law which is supposed to require websites to delete content posted by minors when asked by the original author. The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2015 and you can read a copy here.

For various different reasons, we do not believe that California’s “Online Eraser” law applies to TheDirty.com. However, until the courts have resolved this issue we are willing to consider removal requests from California residents who posted content on our site while they were under the age of 18, subject to appropriate proof.

If you would like to request removal under this law, please send an email to [email protected] and put “California Online Eraser” in the subject line. Please include a link to the page in question and a clear copy of your government issued-ID. We may also request additional information as needed to process your request.

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Last Rev.: 12.05.2014