Back in 2014, Media Post kept readers updated on the latest developments in the heated libel lawsuit between internet-based television provider FilmOn and DoubleVerify. FilmOn alleged that DoubleVerify wrongly classified them as a copyright infringer and adult content distributor. DoubleVerify is a company that provides online media verification to advertisers, so, allegedly, when they published the claims against FilmOn, the company’s relationships with advertisers suffered (and understandably so).
DoubleVerify chose to fight the libel suit with help from the anti-SLAPP law. Anti-SLAPP laws serve to provide a remedy from SLAPP suits. “SLAPP” is an acronym that stands for strategic lawsuits against public participation. SLAPP lawsuits have become a common tool used to silence those who criticize businesses, oftentimes regarding issues of local land development or the environment, according to theReporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press.
According to Media Post, DoubleVerify used anti-SLAPP to argue that the statements they made about FilmOn in their report were matters of public interest. FilmOn then clapped back to their Anti-SLAPP claim, arguing that their reports were commercial and confidential, and, therefore, not matters of public interest.
FilmOn v DoubleVerify Libel Lawsuit Verdict
During trial, the judge and appellate court took the side of DoubleVerify, but when the case was taken to the California Supreme Court, FilmOn came out on top. According to Media Post, the Supreme Court ruled that the report was not protected by anti-SLAPP because it was not released to the general public. Instead, the report was distributed privately to paying clients for business purposes- effectively disproving DoubleVerify’s position in the case.
This ruling could slow down the use of anti-SLAPP to secure companies speedy dismissals in similar cases. Many have argued that anti-SLAPP has been used too broadly, but this decision makes it clear that issues of public interest must be taken into account in order to qualify for anti-SLAPP protection.
If you need legal assistance for issues involving libel, slander, or Internet defamation, contact the attorneys at RM Warner Law. We know how to help.