Monthly Archives: May 2014

FTC Compliance Guidelines For Bloggers and Affiliate Marketers

FTC Compliance Guidelines For Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

FTC Guidelines and Internet Marketing 101

Here at Kelly / Warner Law, we field a lot of questions about Federal Trade Commission Guidelines pertaining to blogging and Internet marketing. The two most common queries:

Are bloggers and marketers required to disclose certain types of information on their websites?

AND

If so, how must the disclaimers be presented?

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest FTC guidelines and disclosure requirements.

The FTC Acai Berry Scandal: A Lesson On Weight Loss False Advertising

A couple of years back, the FTC came down hard on Acai Berry advertisers. In online ads, many weight loss marketers used headlines like: “New Diet Pill Helps you Lose 50 pounds in 4 weeks” to describe the supposed miracle product. This alluring diddy also caught the FTC’s eye:

WARNING! AcaiPure Is Fast Weight Loss That Works. It Was Not Created For Those People Who Only Want To Lose A Few Measly Pounds. AcaiPure was created to help you achieve the incredible body you have always wanted …USE WITH CAUTION! Major weight loss in short periods of time may occur.

These headlines and blurbs caught the attention of the FTC because they make bold claims — claims that sound too good to be true. And when asked for evidence to support these claims, the marketers couldn’t hand-over satisfactory studies. (No, not all white papers and studies are created equal.) The commission deemed the headlines “false advertising” and a hulk-sized fine was levied.

False advertising isn’t the only thing at issue here. though. The FTC is also concerned about “re-bills.” In the Acai crackdown, the commission reasoned that not only did the advertisement lead customers to believe they would experience dramatic weight loss, but the advertisement also indicated that there was no financial risk. Yet, Acai Berry clients were billed for the product without their knowledge – sometimes thousands of dollars – for something they were led to believe was “Risk Free.”

The FTC has and will continue to clamp down on false advertising claims as a way to curb unfair and deceptive marketing. And remember, they have to keep busting people in order to keep existing. So, watch your back and make sure you have the proper disclosures. If you do, the FTC can’t come after you.

Blogging FTC Guidelines

The FTC isn’t only concerned with false advertising (blatant or otherwise). They’re also concerned with persons who endorse products and fail to disclose that he or she is a compensated endorser.

Bloggers and affiliate marketers who are receiving payment from websites engaged in false advertising should also beware. According to FTC Guidelines, bloggers must post a disclaimer or make a disclosure regarding a “sponsored communication.” There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all “sponsored communication” disclaimer, however, the FTC does provide a few guidelines:

  • Only “material connections” must be disclosed.
  • Connections are material if the reviewer received some consideration for the review (e.g., cash, merchandise, etc.).
  • Guidelines impose liability on: (1) advertisers, (2) advertising agencies, and (3) endorsers (including celebrity endorsers).
  • The “results may vary” safe harbor is gone – advertisers are responsible for the claims made by endorsers.

Must I Have a disclosure or disclaimer on my Blog?

If you’re a paid blogger, affiliate marketer, or any entity receiving pay for advertising you must use disclaimers on your site.

“What kind of disclaimer is needed on your website or blog?”

The answer isn’t clear cut. Different strokes for different apps. That said, as long as the disclaimer is “clearly and conspicuously” placed according to the FTC Guidelines, then your site should be in the clear. Having a link in small type — which just so happens to be the same color as the background color of your page — won’t do because the disclaimer must be “clearly and conspicuously” placed.

There’ isn’t a list of “FTC approved” methods for disclosing certain information. The guidelines simply say that the disclaimer must be “clear and conspicuous” when disclosing the material relationships between endorsers and sellers – especially when such relationships aren’t otherwise clear to people visiting the website.

For bloggers, it’s important for the disclaimer to follow every blog post. Why? Because if the disclaimer is only in one spot, there is no guarantee that a reader will see it. A good method is having a link in your footer than appears on every page.

The FTC Guidelines govern advertising done on Twitter and other social media platforms, too. So, make sure to disclose material connections with every Tweet.

How you can comply with FTC Guidelines

The revised FTC Guidelines dictate that advertisements for services and products must not be misleading or false. Advertisers must disclose when the advertisement showcases atypical results. Furthermore, marketers using word of mouth or electronic media must disclose any material relationships between themselves and the advertisers they represent so consumers aren’t misled.

When online marketing guidelines are violated, the FTC will consider the “totality of the circumstances.” That means the FTC will take a look at:

  1. The advertised product,
  2. The advertisement claims, and
  3. Whether or not a “reasonable consumer” would be able to determine (from the disclaimer) if there is a material connection between the advertiser and the marketer.

Be careful out there, bloggers and online affiliate marketers. Even though the truth can hurt…the truth doesn’t hurt as bad as the FTC crashing down on you.

Weekly Celebrity Defamation Rundown: Famous People 2, Newspapers, 0

Celebrity Defamation Lawsuits

J.K. Rowling For The Celebrity Defamation Win Against Daily Mail

Once again, Harry Potter novelist, J.K. Rowling, struck it big — this time in the form of a substantial libel settlement.

Towards the end of last year, the Daily Mail published a gossipy article about her pre-Potter days and the alleged “dementoring” she endured at her then-local church. Where’d the Mail get its info? From an essay Rowling had written for Gingerbread – a charity for single mothers.

“If the Mail got the info direct from the wizard-creator’s pen, then how can it be defamatory!?” you protest. Easy: the journalist egregiously mischaracterized Rowling’s essay.

You see, in her missive, Rowling recounted a one-time incident in which a church visitor acted like the second coming of Draco Malfoy. Emphasis on “one-time.” The Daily Mail journalist, however, painted a more recidivist picture and characterized Rowling as complaining about her former congregation, as a whole.

When the Daily Mail’s article hit wires and newsstands, members from Rowling’s old church cried foul over the portrayal. And Rowling herself was peeved – because the Mail mucked up the facts. She had nothing but praise for her former worship friends – save for that one-time visitor.

So, Rowling filed a defamation suit.

Realizing their mistake, the Daily Mail quickly recanted and took responsibility. Regardless, the two parties couldn’t decide on a settlement amount.

Compromising heads, however, prevailed earlier this week and the parties agreed to a “pound amount.” Now, the matter can be filed away in the Daily Mail defamation archives, which, let’s just say, is growing by the month.

United States Defamation Law Spot Check

Would this case have turned out the same in Unites States court? Probably. Though defamation laws in the US and UK are about as wide apart in standards as the ocean between the two countries, this case has all the elements for a successful action on both sides of the pond. Though, in the United States, Rowling may have also claimed “false light” instead of defamation.

Russell Brand Beats Sun on Sunday In Celebrity Defamation Row

For some time, deceptively intelligent Russell Brand has been dating the opposite-Katie Perry (i.e., highly educated, European editor-at-large of Vanity Fair, associate editor at the New Statesmen, doesn’t wear ice-cream-cone bikini-bras to work), Jemima Khan.

Several months ago, though, the Sun on Sunday ran a story that had the potential to ruin the relationship. Brand, the paper reported, was back to his philandering, flirty ways and enjoying an extra-curricular tryst with model Sophie Coady.

Upon publication, Russell Brand vehemently and publicly denied the rumors, then promptly filed a defamation lawsuit — and won.

So now, The Sun has to fork over an undisclosed amount to the boisterous comic. Plus, the paper must print a retraction.

This week’s celebrity defamation Scoreboard: Team Famous Plaintiffs shutouts Team Defendant Print Media.

If you have a slander or libel issue on your hands, and you’re ready to do something about it instead of letting it fester and continue to do damage, then get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law today. Our practice handles all manners of defamation and reputation-related torts – for both private and public figures. Get in touch today to learn more about your legal options.

Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014

Location Privacy Protection Act
The Location Privacy Protection Act Is A Proposed Bill That Has Been In Cmte. For Nearly 3 Years.

UPDATE: It’s been three years since Sen. Al Franken introduced the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011. And yes, it’s name has been changed 3 times. It is now the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014. And yes, it’s still “in committee.” You can catch up with the latest draft of the bill here. It has changed much, so if you simply want an overview, read the 2011 summary below.

********************Original Article – October 28, 2011********************

Paranoid about Apple or Google tracking your every move? Well, Senator Al Franken thinks you should be, and has introduced a bill in the Senate to regulate geolocation tracking technology, known as the Location Privacy Protection Act, or simply S. 1223.

Phones Track You

Currently, when you buy an Apple iPhone or Google Android, Apple and Google have the ability to make your phone transmit your location to them. When combined with knowledge about your age, gender, and other information that may be collected from you, and aggregated with similar data from millions of other smartphone users, such technology makes for a powerful marketing tool.

But it also raises some privacy concerns. Do people really want smartphone providers to know where they are at all times? Are most customers even aware that they’re being tracked? How many people would volunteer to be tracked like this, particularly given the recent reports of major companies suffering severs hacks?

Summary of Location Privacy Protection Act Bill Proposal

The legislative summary of S. 1223 requires any company collecting geolocation data to obtain customers’ “express consent before” doing so, in addition to “express consent before sharing his or her location data with third parties.”

So what would the Location Privacy Protection Act mean for marketing companies? Well, they can expect to pay a lot more for their data. Since the proposed new law would require the express consent of participants, the “customer pool” will undoubtedly decrease because most people will opt out when presented with a clear option of whether or not their want to be location tracked.

Other provisions of the bill include studying how geolocation software is involved in violence against women, and how it is used in crimes in general. The Internet Crime Complaint Center will be used to receive reports of geolocation-related crimes, and the Attorney General will be required to submit a report on these crimes within eighteen months of the bill’s passage to various congressional committees.

If Passed, Will The Location Privacy Protection Act Have A Financial Effect On The Mobile Marketing Industry?

If smartphone companies can’t convince customers to participate in mobile tracking, there may also be a rise in companies — similar to television rating organizations — which will pay people to wear a tracking device. Instead, the geolocation-tracking equivalent to those organizations could just pay for the right to install a tracking app on a person’s phone and record their geolocation data.

The Location Privacy Protection Act Targets Businesses Both Big And Bity

The Location Privacy Protection Act won’t only be targeting large mobile phone providers, though. It also seeks to criminalize anyone who knowingly and willfully discloses geolocation information about an individual to another individual, knows that interstate domestic violence or stalking will occur because of the disclosure, and intends to aid in such an offense as a result of that disclosure. This means that the so-called “stalker apps” which have gotten much press in the last few months may soon attract criminal penalties for their developers.

Contact A Mobile Marketing Attorney

For more information on the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 2012 2013 2014 and how it may affect your marketing or other segments of your business, contact a qualified marketing lawyer.

Publication of Private Facts: Explanation For Non-Lawyers

publication of private facts
When can you use the tort of publication of private facts?

Let’s say – for argument’s sake – there was a disease known as GOHO Disease. A wildly misunderstood ailment, GOHO is the kind of sickness that invites gossips and judgment alike. Now, let’s say you contracted GOHO and told a friend. Then, a few years later, you and said friend fight; seeking revenge, your former-bestie posts your GOHO secret on his Facebook page.

In this imaginary example, can you sue for defamation?

Truth be told, no, under these circumstances, you probably wouldn’t win a defamation lawsuit? Why? Because defamation (slander and libel) has to do with lies. If a statement is true, by definition, it can’t be defamatory because defamation of character is about FALSE statements of fact. The operative word for the purposes of this discussion is “false.”

BUT! There is legal hope. Just because you can’t use the tort of defamation doesn’t mean you can’t use other torts.

An Alternative To Defamation: Public Disclosure of Private Facts

When the issue at hand is a GOHO-like disease — or another accusation of moral turpitude — “public disclosure of private facts” is the tort to use in most situations. Though there is no federal standard, nearly every state has a publication of private facts statute. And while, in many ways, it’s a close cousin to defamation and false light, what makes the publication of private facts tort unique is that the statements under review can be true.

Elements of Public Disclosure of Private Facts

Now, if you’re looking to legally pummel a foe for gossiping about you, slow your roll. Like every other interpersonal communication tort, publication of private facts has its limits. In order for a judge to wave through a case, he or she must prove that:

  1. The defendant in the case publicized “private facts” (e.g., sexual orientation, financial troubles, health status, social security number, confidential phone number, etc.) of no legitimate public concern;
  2. The statement(s) in question were in no way newsworthy;
  3. The information reached a bunch of people and was not just a gossipy e-mail between two individuals; and
  4. The statement(s) in question would be “offensive” to a reasonable person.

Other publication of private fact stipulations:

  1. Originality is essential in publication of private facts cases. If the defendant can prove that the objectionable information was already publicly available, then it’s very difficult for a publication of private facts plaintiff to win.
  2. Only individuals can sue for publication of private facts, not companies. Companies can use various trade libel, business misappropriation and trade secret torts instead.
  3. Dead people’s families or estates cannot sue for publication of private facts on behalf of the deceased. Once a person is dead, all their dirty secrets can flood the airwaves. IF, however, a given “private fact” affects a living family member, then the estate or family can sue.
  4. Time often factors into publication of private facts cases involving past criminality. While some, non-violent, crimes may be newsworthy in the immediate aftermath of its happening, they become less so as the years tick away – especially if the individual has a proven rehabilitation record.
  5. The statute of limitation for publication of private facts is between 1 and 3 years.
  6. The most popular defense against publication of private facts is consent – which is a complete defense. In other words, if the defendant can say to the plaintiff, “you told me I could reveal this information or implicitly implied that I could share this information” then the plaintiff will have a very tough time winning.

“Outing”: A Common Publication of Private Facts Lawsuit

Many people use the publication of private facts tort in sexual orientation and preference cases – or “outing” lawsuits. Currently, a nationwide judicial consensus on the matter doesn’t exist. But perhaps the most famous case involving publication of private facts and the question of “outing” was Sipple v. Chronicle Publ’g Co. In short, Oliver Sipple stopped an assassination attempt on President Ford in 1975. In reporting the incident, two newspapers mentioned Sipple’s homosexuality. He sued for publication of private facts. In the end, though, the judge sided with the press, saying that Sipple made his sexuality “open to the public eye” by participating in gay pride events and maintaining a public friendship with high-profile gay activist Harvey Milk.

We like to think of the law as unemotional. But, right or wrong, civil law is in large part about cultural consensus. Take, for example, torts like publication of private facts. It requires jurists and judges to determine what “a reasonable person” would think. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation and personal morality.

So what does all this talk of culture and the law have to do with publication of private facts? Simply this: the general cultural tenor of your state may determine the outcome of your publication of private facts case. Because, as they say, “one man’s Victoria Secret catalog is another man’s pornography.”

From The Second Restatement of Torts § 263D

Complete privacy does not exist in this world except in a desert, and anyone who is not a hermit must expect and endure the ordinary incidents of the community life of which he is a part. Thus, he must expect the more or less casual observation of his neighbors as to what he does, and that his comings and goings and his ordinary daily activities will be described in the press as a matter of casual interest to others. The ordinary reasonable man does not take offense at a report in a newspaper that he has returned from a visit, gone camping in the woods or given a party at his house for his friends. Even minor and moderate annoyance, as, for example, through public disclosure of the fact that the plaintiff has clumsily fallen downstairs and broken his ankle, is not sufficient to give him a cause of action under the rule stated in this Section. It is only when the publicity given to him is such that a reasonable person would feel justified in feeling seriously aggrieved by it that the cause of action arises.

Speak With A Lawyer About Publication of Private Facts Case

If you’re considering suing for publication of private facts, but are unsure if you have a solid case, get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law today. Our legal practice focuses on all things reputation-related, including trade libel, defamation (slander and libel), unfair business competition and false marketing. Even if the tort of publication of private facts won’t work for your particular case, other options may.

Pick up the phone, send an email or Skype – whichever you prefer. But be sure to get in touch soon to fix your reputation problem. We’ve turned things around for other individuals and businesses – we can do the same for you, too.

Truth and Defamation: Is truth always a defense for defamation in the U.S.?

truth and defamation law
Is truth always a successful defense for defamation?

Truth and defamation. Under U.S. law, how does it work? Is truth always — under all possible circumstances — a successful defense against slander or libel? If a newspaper or blog gets most of the story right, but flubs a few details, can it be successfully sued for defamation, or do courts forgive minor errors? We’ll answer these questions below, plus delve a little deeper into the nuances of truth and defamation law.

First, A Bit of Defamation Law History That Will Have You Sounding Like Cicero At Your Next Dinner Party

Edward I’s Government Waves Through First “Libel Law”

In 1275, when Edward I ruled Britania, the first libel statute hit Common Law books. Called the Scandalis Magnatum (translation: “libels upon peers”), the statute detailed the crime of — and punishments for — spreading “false rumors that cause public mischief.” From Sage Wisdom:

The goal of the statutes was to preserve good relations between the Crown and the nobility as well as among the nobles themselves. Unlike other forms of libel, Scandalis Magnatum did not require that the false news or tale be directed at an individual.

Medieval Defamation = Pissing Off The King

In medieval times, if you caused the king headaches — via gossip or truth-rumor — then you were screwed. Back in the day, defamation equaled smack talk. It didn’t matter if you were telling the truth or speaking opinion. If you caused problems for the king and realm, under the de scandalisn magnatum, you were toast.

Back in the day, defamation equaled smack talk. It didn’t matter if you were telling the truth or speaking opinion.

Truth Becomes A Possible Defense For Defamation In The 17th Century

Things went along like this for some time. But, by the late 17th century (1600s), truth as a defense for defamation became an acceptable legal principle. It didn’t always work for the defendant, but it was worth a shot and sometimes did prove a successful defense.

Truth As A Defense For Defamation Makes Its Way To “The Colonies”

Fast forward to 1733. John Peter Zenger went on trial for allegedly defaming then New York Governor, Bill Cosby. In a tour de force legal performance, Andrew Hamilton represented Zenger (on the behest of Benjamin Franklin) by arguing truth – and won. It was the first time in “the colonies” that truth had worked as a defense in a high-profile libel suit.

For the most part, since Crown v. Zenger, truth has been an acceptable defamation defense in the United States. That does not mean, however, that truth works 100% of the time.

Noonan v. Staples: Truth And Defamation Clash; Truth Lost.

Truth is almost always a valid and acceptable defense for defamation under U.S. law — except when it’s not.

Truth is almost always a valid and acceptable defense for defamation under U.S. law — except when it’s not.

Though rare, someone who tells the truth can still lose a defamation lawsuit. One such “exception to the rule” case is Noonan v. Staples.

Noonan v. Staples Case Facts

  • Alan Noonan lost his job at Staples (the office supply chain) because of irregularities on his expense account.
  • Upon Noonan’s firing, one of his superiors sent over 1,000 Staples employees – many of which had no reason to know the details of Noonan’s departure – an e-mail outlining the reasons for his ouster.
  • Prior to Noonan’s leaving, other employees had been let go for the same reason, but never was an email sent out in the same manner as it did for Noonan.

E-mail Libel Plaintiff’s Argument: Even Though What You Said Was True, It Was Malicious And Therefore Defamatory

Noonan argued that even though the email was factually accurate, the sinister tenor of it could lead a “reasonable person” to conclude he was a criminal.

Judges: “Malice Trumps Truth For Private Citizens, So The Win Goes To Plaintiff.”

The judges’ decision rested on an obscure defamation provision in Massachusetts addressing “actual malice.” In short, actual malice is a standard that must be met by famous claimant in slander and libel suits. Basically, said famous person has to prove that the defendant knowingly lied, as opposed to private citizens who only have to prove that the defendant acted negligently.

An action is committed with actual malice if the plaintiff can prove the defendant knowingly lied to cause harm. What’s unique about Massachusetts state law is that actual malice trumps truth in cases where the plaintiff is a private citizen.

What’s unique about Massachusetts state law is that actual malice trumps truth in cases where the plaintiff is a private citizen.

To illustrate, let’s say you’re an average Joe living in Massachusetts, and someone says something negative, but true, about you. If you can prove that the trash-talker intended to harm you, then you still have a shot at winning a defamation suit.

In Noonan, due to the spiteful nature of the email (remember, Noonan’s boss had never sent a similar email when other employees were fired for the same reasons as Noonan), and since his firing was not a matter of public interest, but unnecessary people got the email anyway, Alan Noonan, truth defamation plaintiff, prevailed.

Opinion Supported By False Facts?

Another defamation “truth pitfall” is when someone makes a “truthful” statement based on false facts. In such circumstances, a plaintiff can win the case – especially if he or she can prove negligence in the collection of said false supporting facts.

Substantial Truth is Also a Valid Defamation Defense — Sometimes

The flip side of the defamation truth coin is the issue of “substantial truth.” Truth is a longstanding defense for defamation, but, once upon a time, the truth standard resulted in some terrible rulings, thanks to defendants who bungled an otherwise truthful statement by way of a minor error.

Judges & Juries Are Most Concerned With The “Gist” of The Story

To correct the loophole, judges introduced the concept of “substantial truth,” meaning that if the gist of a story is truthful, and only a small detail is wrong, then it’s not considered defamation.

For example, in one oft-quoted truth defamation case, a newspaper ran a story about a government official who wasted $80,000 of taxpayer funds. The actual figure, however, was $17,500. Despite the mistake, the tax-wasting official didn’t win his defamation suit because the judge ruled that the actual amount wasted was inconsequential; what mattered was that the politician wasted tax money.

Accusations Of Recidivism, However, Don’t Enjoy “Substantial Truth” Protections

One common situation in which “substantial truth” doesn’t apply is if the defendant says the plaintiff is somehow a recidivist offender, when, indeed, the offense only happened once. For example, a woman once won a defamation lawsuit because someone called her a “dirty old whore” – but in reality she had only had one extra-marital affair.

A woman once won a defamation lawsuit because someone called her a “dirty old whore” – but in reality she had only had one extra-marital affair.

Store Owner And Defamation Plaintiff Beat Substantial Truth Defense Because Weed Is Not Heroin

A store owner in Hawaii, however, once beat a “substantial truth” defense by arguing “literal truth” – and he won!

In his case, even though a local newspaper was accurate in reporting his store as part of a police drug bust, the story said that police had found heroin, hashish and morphine, when in reality only a small amount of weed had been found at his store. In that instance, the store owner who brought the defamation suit won – because the culturally perceived criminality of “weed” versus “heroin” surpassed acceptable “substantial truth standards.”

If You Don’t Have A Solid Defamation Case, Other Torts May Work

If the facts of your situation don’t quite fit the mold of a successful defamation suit, you may not be out of luck. Depending on your jurisdiction, other civil torts may be available for you to plead. For example, residents of California (and a few other states) may be able to claim “false light” – a tort similar to defamation. In other cases, “intentional infliction of emotional distress” is also an option.

Get In Touch With A Defamation Attorney Quickly If You’re Suffering From A Libel or Slander Problem. The Statute Of Limitations Isn’t Long.

Truth and defamation cases are usually nuanced, so it’s best to consult an attorney well acquainted with slander and libel case law. Our firm has successfully handled countless defamation cases – and we’re ready to help fix your problem, too. Get in touch today to learn more about your legal options.

Weekly Celebrity Defamation Update: Rhianna, Pebbles & Clemens Up At Bat

Celebrity Defamation Lawsuits
This week in our celebrity defamation and Internet law rundown, we’ve got a bodyguard’s libel suit against a hip-hop princess, a slander claim involving a made-for-TV biopic and a delay of trial feud between a feisty Brooklyn judge and an ex-ballplayer. Shall we?

“Nauseatingly Offensive,” Says Bodyguard In Celebrity Defamation Suit

Geoffrey Keating – a resident of Ireland and former head of security for Rhianna’s 2013 world tour — is suing the singer for e-mail defamation.

He filed papers in Ireland to get the ball rolling, but since he is currently just seeking permission to pursue an international lawsuit, he didn’t have to divulge details in his initial motion. In fact, all it said — in terms of accusations — was that Rhianna sent an email to him and his wife that included “nauseatingly offensive” libel. According to Keating, Rhianna supposedly followed the e-mail up with an equally slanderous phone call.

We’ll have to wait to see if – and where – this international celebrity defamation showdown will go down. Watch this space for updates. To do that, throw your e-mail on our newsletter list.

Crazy, Sexy Cool Leads To A Slander Lawsuit

Am I the only one? I’m the only one that remembers Pebbles – aren’t I? No, no – not the Flintstone girl; the other Pebbles. The 90s R&B chanteuse, Pebbles Reid; ex-wife of Za-jillionaire music producer L.A. Reid, and singer of a song about a girl who drives a Mercedes Benz? (Aaron Edit: NO, I did not write this. Our firm blogger did. She is a She who had questionable music taste as a teenager. Carry on.)

Anyway, Pebbles is going after VH1 and the music channel’s parent company, Viacom, over the TLC biopic, Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The Story of TLC.

In the made-for-TV movie, the producers portrayed Perri “Pebbles” Reid as the Leona Helmsley of the music industry – a ruthless, greedy ball-buster who was eager to exploit innocent ingénues in exchange for massive piles of cash-money. Reid says her portrayal in the movie was a steaming pile of non-truthy nonsense and that she was as ethical as Honest Abe in her dealings with the anti-waterfall-chasing trio.

Pebbles swears the movie – not the 21st century — shattered her career. So, she’s looking for a cool $40 million from Viacom in compensation.

Brooklyn Judge To Roger Clemens: “Cut The Litigation Delay Shenanigans!”

Roger Clemens better get his act together in his defamation battle against former trainer Brian McNamee. If he doesn’t, U.S. District Court Judge Sterling Johnson may pelt the former Yankee with a financial curve ball for wasting the court’s damn time!

The elevator-pitch version of Clemens’ defamation suit:

  1. Clemens was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report for being a Lance Armstrong.
  2. Clemens was eventually acquitted on related doping and false testimony charges.
  3. Clemens decided to sue his former trainer who was quoted in reports as saying that Clemens was a doper.

The subsequent celebrity defamation lawsuit has lasted 5 long years. And according to the judge, that’s largely Plaintiff Clemens’ fault. Apparently, the old pro doesn’t want to hand over 900 emails requested by the defense. The thing is, his obsessive protection of these files is, well, kind of making it look like there are some truth nuggets in those emails, which can bolster McNamee’s claims that Clemens should be walking around with a scarlet D on his chest.

In his censure of Clemens, Sterling called the suit “hopelessly stalled” and reminded that:”The public, too, suffers when litigation proceeds in this fashion.”

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