Billionaire Louis Bacon Wins Wikipedia Defamation Suit, Will Go After Names
Most comment trolls don't think they'll ever have to show their faces to the people they insult. But Louis Bacon, an American billionaire hedge fund manager has received the go-ahead from a London high court to force three websites to disclose the identities of his alleged defamers, the Guardian reports.
Bacon received permission to ask publishers behind Wikipedia, WordPress and the Denver Post to track down online commenters who he claims have posted libellous content about him, according to the Guardian. Bacon, now equipped with a Norwich Pharmacal Order, will serve the websites with the order so that he can go after these individuals for defamation.
But according to legal experts, it may be a difficult proposition to get these US companies to agree with the UK court order. The Guardian reports that the Wikimedia Foundation, and Automattic (the company that owns WordPress) have stated it will only comply with a US subpoena for such data.
Bacon succeeded in making a similar case against a UK-based site, justhost.com, last year. In the US, Bacon would have some precedent for his actions: last year, an Illinois newspaper was forced to reveal the names of online anonymous commenters in a defamation suit. The same happened to an Indianpolis newspaper in March. And last October, a business student was able to get a court to force Google to reveal the names of commenters insulting her on YouTube.