Earlier this week, Toronto police officer Adam Josephs warned a bubble-blowing G20 protester that if a bubble even touched him he was going to arrest her. His defense was that blowing the bubbles was a deliberate action on her part and constituted assault. Josephs is now suing YouTube for the video now dubbed “Officer Bubbles”. The lawsuit doesn’t focus on the initial video, but rather the remixes and parodies that followed that labeled Josephs an overzealous police officer who abuses power. The case is mainly a defamation of character lawsuit.
Other such YouTube celebrities who have wanted nothing to do with their fame are, for starters, Carla Franklin. Franklin sued Google to find the identity of the person who posted unauthorized videos of her on the Internet, which led to comments that defamed her character. The case has yet to be settled, but if the judge rules in Franklin’s favor, it will mean an end to the videos and a likely settlement.
Another internet “celebrity,” so to speak, who sued Google for the identity of her tormentor was former Vogue model Liskula Cohen. She filed a defamation of character lawsuit when an unidentified blogger posted unsavory comments about her and labeled her a “skank.” She won her case and the identity of the blogger was revealed to be a woman by the name of Rosemary Port. There is now a defamation lawsuit against the woman, whom Cohen says severely damaged her reputation.
Yet another brought into the spotlight against her will was sports commentator Erin Andrews, who had to take legal action after unlawful tapes were taken of her in her hotel room. The man accused of making the tapes posted many of them online and admitted to taking them during criminal proceedings that landed him in prison for two and a half years. Her current lawsuit centers on invasion of privacy for the willing administration of information to an unauthorized person.
Looking back on these cases, there is a fairly good chance that Josephs’ case will bear fruit. Although the seriousness of his suit isn’t exactly the same as the other cases mentioned, the posting of the videos does amount to character defamation on some level. We have to remember, no matter how funny a video may be, there is always someone who has to be the butt of the joke, and that isn’t always funny.
Kevin Parrish, “Officer Bubbles” Suing YouTube, Commenters, tomsguide.com
Jennifer Peltz, Carla Franklin Sues Google to Expose Cyberbully Behind ‘Whore’ Video, huffingtonpost.com
Huffington Post, Liskula Cohen, Ex-Model, Wins Lawsuit; “Skanks in NYC” Blogger Can Be Revealed, huffingtonpost.com
Serena Dai, Erin Andrews Sues Hotel Chains Over Secret Tapes, huffingtonpost.com