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Is there any legal consequences for using a pseudonym in Whois?

     
12:49 am on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's possible that a company might file a legal suit against me as a website owner for not removing content that they feel is defamatory.

My Whois info is all correct except that my last name is not my legal last name. If the company files a law suite against me and it will turn up that I am using a pseudonym, can I find myself in any legal trouble? Please note that I am not trying to hide but just have reasons not to use my legal name in the public records.

thank you for any advice.

2:55 am on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You could lose your site; offering a real name and address iis a condition of service.

Most hosts have an anonymity option (if yours doesn't, then change!).

11:19 am on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What do you mean 'lose your site'?
Also, if I transfer the website to a new owner, will the new owner be responsible for the actions of the previous owner?
5:02 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What do you mean 'lose your site'?

It means that the courts could force you to remove the site from the Internet. In my local area we have a daily newspaper that thinks it should run the city instead of simply publishing the news. It is family owned and there are many people very critical of this family.

One day a web site appeared the seriously criticized members of this family that were involved with the publishing of the paper and interfering in city politics. The family and newspaper naturally sued, but found out the registration info for the domain was all false. The courts did not know who was behind the site and forced the hosting company to take it down.

I realize your case is not exactly the same, but it is similar so you can take from this what you will.

5:19 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you sell the site, and the new owner does not change the content, they will share the guilt - but the date of purchase will show you as the 'lead', and you are responsible for your own actions.

If you think that hiding your identity will allow you to attack someone via your site, be warned that if they have a decent lawyer, and money, you will not escape the law.

Harassment and libel are just as deprecated on the web as they are in the real world, and - often - much easier to prosecute.

I'd worry less about the security of the site, and your name, and more about being able to justify the comments that appear on your site.

Is it 'defamatory' or fact? Can you convince a judge?

If you are justified, then 'free speech' goes a long way ... but if you cannot justify the comments, then it's long past the time you needed to be paying a lawyer.

2:30 pm on Jan 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As soon words like "legal" appear in a thread then all other information and replies are potentially misleading without knowing the jurisdiction concerned,
12:40 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I managed to get a domain removed because someone blantantly copied my client's content and falsified all contact info, i.e., the domain was being used for illegal purposes. After he removed the content he was allowed to put the domain back up with his real name on it. It never did rank well after that however.
 

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