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Courtney Love's Libel Trial Inspires This Proposed Fix for Twitter Defamation

Earlier this week, in Los Angeles Superior Court, the trial between Courtney Love and her former lawyer began. The lawyer, Rhonda Holmes, is suing Love for libel for a June 2010 tweet in which the volatile rocker accused Holmes of being “bought off”—Holmes had refused to help Love bring a fraud case in her battle over control of the estate of her late husband, Kurt Cobain.

Hundreds of millions of tweets are written every day, so it’s inevitable that someone is going to feel defamed, and this is the not the first Twitter libel case. (Some definitions: Defamation is knowingly making a false statement that harms someone’s reputation. If it’s spoken, it’s slander; if it’s written it’s libel.) Love in particular has shown a particular efficiency in using the 140-character medium to provoke legal action. Three years ago she paid $430,000 in a settlement with a fashion designer over a series of insulting tweets Love wrote following a dispute over a $4,000 clothing bill.