Lawsuit over Wikipedia defamation

A Miami law firm faces a lawsuit after its internet connection was apparently used to make libelous comments on Wikipedia. Lawyers filed the suit on behalf of professional golfer Fuzzy Zoeller in a Miami court last week, the Miami Herald reports

Wikipedia's article on Zoeller was altered on December 20 to allege that he had taken drugs and become drunk and abusive to wife and children. US law states that the person who provided the information is responsible, not the publisher. Therefore Zoeller's lawyers are suing to uncover that peson's identity.

Wikipedia's 'talk' page, where editors discuss changes to the Zoeller article, had been added to only six times between its creation in August 2005 and the addition of the allegedly defamatory information a year later. However, during the day after the story became public, it attracted more than 80 comments before Wikipedia editors locked the article down to prevent further changes.

The law firm's president told media he had retained a computer consultant to look into the matter. While a typical PC's web browser cache will retain details of web pages visited for some time. This data generally begins to be erased within about one month, unless default settings have been altered. Zoeller's lawyers alleged that the last defamatory edits to the page took place more than two months ago, on December 20.