This week I posted an article about So You Think You Can Dance Judge Mary Murphy. She is in Boston with SYTYCD as they begin auditions for the Fox TV hit’s sixth season.
Ms. Murphy made an appearance with friends at a restaurant in Boston, and I took a few photos, spoke with her for a minute or two and then wrote a very polite article about it. Unfortunately, someone, who claims to be an attorney, has taken offense to my article, specifically stating that my photos and comments in the article were “unauthorized and therefore libelous”.
I do not typically post or address negative comments about my articles, but I felt that being accused of something false warranted a comment or two from me.
So to the “Anonymous” person who has been so thoughtfully warning me that the comments and photos in my article about So You Think You Can Dance Judge Mary Murphy are “unauthorized and therefore libelous”, you should understand the definition of “Libel”.
Libelous: Containing or involving a libel; defamatory; containing that which exposes some person to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule; as, a libelous pamphlet.
a. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
b.the act or crime of publishing it.
c. a formal written declaration or statement, as one containing the allegations of a plaintiff or the grounds of a charge.
anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.
Nothing in my post about SYTYCD Judge Mary Murphy is defamatory or malicious. The use of photos does not have to be authorized by Ms. Murphy.
Based on the nature of the comments, I have to think that the anonymous comment author personally knows Ms. Murphy and that is why anonymous felt such a strong need to notify and warn me multiple times. If anonymous truly is an attorney, as anonymous claimed, anonymous knows that “unauthorized use” does not constitute “libel.” Anonymous also likely knows that public interest stories, which includes stories about celebrities, do not have to be “authorized’”, nor do their photos.
For clarification, I contacted Ms. Murphy’s manager and was informed that my article, including photos, was just fine.
Bloggers, journalists, writers and photographers have great protection under the Freedom of Speech. I am not an attorney and I do not know the intricacies of the law as it relates to bloggers; there is quite a bit of debate regarding protections and laws around bloggers/journalists. More Information
As a blogger, I have always maintained that if someone I write about is unhappy with what I have written or posted, they need only contact me to discuss their objection. I can be contacted through the “Contact Betsy” link at the bottom of this site.
Anonymous commenters should also be aware that ‘anonymous’ does not really mean that your identity is completely anonymous. Information is registered and, if necessary, IP addresses can be tracked. So if someone does need to contact me with something as important as a legal accusation, I would suggest contacting me via email with the concerns.
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