Overstock Settles Defamation Case With Research Firm

Jennifer Forsyth over at WSJ.com, posted about the Overstock defamation case. Overstock.com sued Gradient Analytics for libel, alleging that Overstock’s negative reports drove down Overstock’s stock prices. The case recently settled and a press release was issued. This made me question the importance of public statements/retractions in the online defamation context. I mean, does anyone actually believe that Gradient, “now believes that, to the best of its knowledge, Overstock’s stated accounting policies did in fact conform with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and regrets any prior statements to the contrary.”

I bet they regret having made the statements considering they were sued, but I wonder whether they’ve really had a change of heart.

Perhaps public retractions/statements are no longer meaningful? Perhaps Google will develop a dispute resolution mechanism for online defamation? Now that would be very interesting.

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