6:05 PM

Internet Defamation as a Crime (?)

As a fan of Korean pop culture and music, I am a follower of allkpop.com on twitter. One of the stories they have been keeping the public updated on is that of Tablo, a Korean idol, who netizens accused of not graduating from Stanford University. According to allkpop,

The 22 netizens claimed that Tablo did not have a master’s degree from Stanford, Tablo’s report card was created by himself, and that Tablo applied for the CIA and spread these posts all over the internet.

This really lead to quite a lot of trauma for Tablo, and even when he had Stanford officials confirm that he did get a Masters from the University these people continued their attack and "revealed that they will also be charging Tablo through the help of a professional law expert" when he threatened to take legal action over their continued false accusations. Well, now the police have confirmed he did get a Masters (in English I believe) from Stanford, and Tablo has laid charges for defamation. I don't blame the guy personally, because as a Masters student myself I understand how much hard work goes into getting the qualification and to have people accuse you of lying about it and then threaten to battle you in court over it really is disgusting. 

Anyway, allkpop today stated that the police have tracked down the IPs of those who made the comments and have summoned them, but most of them have refused and they are now looking for professional representation.

The question is, is it really going too far to take these people to court over comments they made on the internet? I think for the most part it is, because we all say things online that we probably wouldn't say otherwise, but in this case I kinda feel these people deserve it because it wasn't just one or two comments, it really was an outright continued attack on him seeking to defame him (it even got so personal that they lodged plagorism complaints over his songs). I find myself hoping they do get fined, because while the internet is a place for free speech its not OK to use it to bully and attack people unjustifiably, and it doesn't matter if they are a celebrity.

Sources:
http://www.allkpop.com/2010/10/police-confirm-tablo-graduated-from-stanford
http://www.allkpop.com/2010/08/tablo-charges-22-netizens-for-defamation