Courtney Love Involved in First Twitter Libel Case Brought to Court
Courtney Love – the 1990s controversial frontwoman of alternative rock band Hole and wife to the late Kurt Cobain is once again making headlines. This time it involves the first, potential landmark, Twitter libel or “Twibel” case to go to trial, the likes of which have not been seen since New York Times vs. Sullivan.
Courtney Love, in 2010, accused her former attorney of bribery, tweeting, “I was f—— devastated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off @FairNewsSpears perhaps you can get a quote.” Love’s tweet followed after her attorney declined to help Love sue those managing the estate of Cobain, her late husband. Although the tweet was deleted, it returned with a serious bite as Love’s attorney sued her for libel. Love filed a motion seeking to dismiss the suit, arguing the tweet was not defamatory but rather an opinion, phrased in colloquial Internet slang. The Los Angeles Superior Court judge in the case disagreed, and set trial. The outcome of the case, determined by a jury of Love’s peers, may set significant precedent for future Twitter libel cases and present potential legal implications for all publishers in social media.