Notorious rocker Courtney Love has settled a dispute over a few poorly thought-out 140-character rants for a whopping $430,000. This is the first Twitter defamation case of its kind, and it sets quite a hefty precedent against using Twitter to mouth off against someone on the very public forum that is Twitter.
Love had been brought to court in a lawsuit filed by Dawn Simorangkir, a fashion designer who ended up in a debate with Love over a $4,000 payment for clothing. As Simorangkir claims, Love posted a series of defamatory tweets about her business in 2009, which severely damaged her reputation.
Love and her legal team argued that Simorangkir couldn’t prove how these tweets affected her reputation, and that they were merely expressions of Love’s opinion. However, Simorangkir’s team countered that Love, being a celebrity, had influence over her Twitter followers, and the power of social media to amplify her false and damaging comments.
The case would have been an interesting one to watch had it made it to court. We would have seen a judge decide whether a 140 character rant is enough to damage an individual’s or businesses’ reputation, and to what extent Love being a celebrity had an impact on this. However, as Love and Simorangkir settled out of court, we’ll have to wait to see how a courtroom handles this type of case.
As The Hollywood Reporter reports, Love began paying the first portion of the settlement to Simorangkir on Thursday, with the rest of the payments spread out over several years until 2014.