Herndon, VA asked in Internet Law for Virginia

Q: Is is illegal to start a website that is created to allow users to publicly shame people based on certain situations?

This is strictly a conceptual idea and I have no intention of moving forward with this idea unless I understand the legalities.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: A Virginia attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for two weeks. Until you are able to consult with a Virginia attorney, something more likely than any penal code violation would probably be civil liability for defamation. If the users post content that is harmful to someone's reputation, and the statements are false, the victim could bring an action for liable. But if the statements cross the line beyond ordinary dignitary interests and enter issues addressed in criminal statutes, then criminal liability could possibly arise, as a general premise. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

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