Love Settles Over Tweets

Charlie Sheen may be winning on Twitter, but the microblogging site hasn’t worked out so well for Courtney Love, who recently agreed to shell out some cash to settle a lawsuit over defamatory tweets.

Love will reportedly pay fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir more than $430,000 for comments she made about Simorangkir on Twitter and her MySpace blog.

In a complaint filed in March 2009, Simorangkir alleged Love never paid her for work and posted “menacing and disturbing” statements about her on the Internet, calling her a “nasty lying horsebag thief” and accusing her of being a drug addict and a prostitute.

The case won’t go to trial, but was watched closely by the legal community as it attempted to address whether statements made online fall into the same legal category as those made in print or broadcast media.

Attorney Bryan Freedman represented Simorangkir and told the New York Times the suit sent a message that tweets can be just as damaging as statements made anywhere else.

“Just because you decide to use 140 characters about how you are feeling at the moment doesn’t exempt you from legal exposure,” he said. “It goes back to what I was taught as a child: Think before you speak.”

An attorney for Love wasn’t on the same page.

“This was not a groundbreaking case,” James Janowitz told the paper. “There are always people looking for the opportunity for a score and you have to deal with those situations when they arise.”