Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am officially a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

I am so excited that I can officially announce my publication! This has been in the works for a couple of months now, but I have only told my close friends and family until the publication was officially released. So here's a little background on my article...

I originally wrote this article in order to satisfy my Rigorous Writing Requirement for law school {otherwise known as a thesis or disertation almost for any other doctoral degree}. To fulfill this requirement, you can choose to take any class that offers to allow you to write your paper. I chose the Freedom of Expression class taught by Professor Andy Olree which focused on nothing but First Amendment issues.

I entered the class with more dread than anything knowing I was about to be enslaved for the next few months by this paper I was about to have to write. However, all my anxiety turned into pure excitement after the first day of class. We were prompted to start thinking about what we wanted to write our paper's on. After a couple of failed attempts of generating any ideas for a topic, I decided to watch a little TV. MTV was running this show about online bullying. I remember watching this segment and reflecting on on my own life experiences with mean girls, bullies and the like. As my mind traveled through the years of high school to college, I started to realize how the internet truly has changed the dynamic of the way people bully, intimidate, spread rumors, and otherwise just be mean to others. Specifically, I remembered my senior year in college there being this website called "Juicy Campus." It no longer exists, but it allowed people to post anonymously ANYTHING {and I mean ANYTHING} they wanted about anyone else on Auburn's Campus and many other campuses alike. It called people out by name and said horrible things. I have to admit, the website became quite addicting to read until one day I read something about a close friend of mine that I knew was untrue. After speaking with her, my heart broke for her. She had tried everything in her power, including meeting with Auburn University's President to try to have the post removed. Nothing worked. She received no response from the website operator and of course trying to rebut the statement on the website fueled the "mean girls" and prompted them to say even more things.

It was this memory which started the writing process. I wanted to know why nothing could be done, why this type of speech was allowed, and what I could do to prevent others from being hurt and left hopeless from the internet age edition of mean girls. After TONS of guidance from Prof. Olree and hours and hours and days of writing and editing, the paper was complete. I received an A in the class and an offer to have my paper published. American Univeristy is a top 50 law school with an outstanding reputation. It is also very exciting to have my paper published with them because not only will it be available in print {which is typical in the legal community}, but it is also available online for viewing; thus, it will be able to be found and cited through and online search.

Here is an excerpt from my abstract:
Anonymous gossip websites, blogs, social networking websites, online bulletin boards, and other similar types of Internet forums allow people to speak their minds and exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and expression; however, these online forums can be abused when people use the sites to defame others.  When a defamatory statement is posted on the Internet, it is often times difficult to locate the individual responsible because most of the defamers are given anonymity by their Internet service provider (“ISP”). Plaintiffs in Internet defamation suits are unable to easily name their defamers since usually only the defamer’s screen name is available.  Furthermore, most courts interpret the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”) to give ISPs complete immunity from liability for the defamatory posts of third parties, even if notified that certain statements are defamatory.  Thus, ISPs have no civil liability to remove defamatory material, and the defamed plaintiffs are left with little recourse.  This judicial interpretation of the CDA is significantly different from the well-established common law of defamation, as well as the very purpose for the enactment of the CDA. Internet defamation is an increasing problem, leaving the defamed helpless and the defamers believing they have a First Amendment right to post defamatory content.  This Article will reemphasize the notion that the First Amendment does not protect defamatory speech on the Internet.  Part I of this Article will discuss defamation law as part of common law, as applied to the Internet before the passage of the CDA, while Part II will discuss the judicial interpretation of the CDA in defamation cases.  Part III of this Article will address the problems with the CDA as currently interpreted by the judicial system.  Finally, Part IV will propose amendments to the CDA, which are intended to clarify the statute in order to give more legal options to defamed victims.  Furthermore, Part IV will explain how the proposed amendments would not violate the First Amendment.
To view my article through the American University's website, click Here. Hope you enjoy!