Nowadays the Internet is one of the most important sources of information in any field of activity. The essence of the Internet is that information is very quickly distributed, altered and removed. Therefore, the issue of protecting honor, dignity and business reputation of public figures (PEP) becomes more and more relevant with each day.
It is easy to post information online, but removal thereof is much more difficult.
Among various means of protecting of honor, dignity and business reputation one of the most effective is removal of such information from the Internet. At the first glance, this method may seem to the simplest for the achieving the task of cleaning up the image of the ordinary individual or even a PEP. However, in reality not all is that simple. Firstly, the issue can be caused by lack of available information on the owner of an Internet resource, which hosts the alleged information, as well as other nuances may arise.
For removal of the damaging information online, the following is necessary:
STEP ONE is to document the fact of hosting such information on the Internet, which is necessary to:
ü save the URLs to pages (page) where damaging false information is hosted;
ü make screenshots of the page (pages) where damaging false information is hosted.
It is true, that some lawyers talk of possibility of notary certification of Internet pages. However, the existing Ukrainian legislation does not render the notaries with means to make such certification, unlike the legislation of many other countries. Thus, there is no established practice to tackle this issue and no entity has the right to request such certification.
STEP TWO is defining the author of the hosted information and the owner of the website, who are to be addressed with the request to remove such information and who will act as defendants in court. In cases where the author of the information cannot be established, only the website owner shall be deemed a proper defendant, since one has created technical capability of dissemination of information violating honor, dignity and business reputation of the individual.
The easiest method is addressing “The Ukrainian Network Information Center” with barrister’s inquiry for disclosure of the relevant information. However, the practice shows, the aforementioned organization does not always disclose data of website owners. Still, even the denial to provide such information will serve as an additional argument for court to extract information for rendering testimonies.
STEP THREE is to address the web resource owner with the request to remove the damaging false information. It should be noted that in most cases such requests have no constructive result therefore the only solution is…
STEP FOUR is to litigate with the intention to remove the false information posted online.
Overall, the process does not seem simple, but high-quality legal support of VigoLex law firm will assist with legitimate retaliation to violations of honor, dignity and business reputation on the Internet. Such legitimate stance can play a positive role for the public figure image since one will demonstrate a competent response to dubious data.