LOS ANGELES — Courtney Love's settlement of a case sparked by online attacks on a fashion designer show that while Twitter posts may be short, they can also be costly.
The singer has agreed to pay Dawn Simorangkir $430,000, plus interest, to settle a lawsuit the designer filed in March 2009 over comments Love made on Twitter and her MySpace blog.
While the case didn't go to a jury, First Amendment experts say it highlights the need for celebrities and average people to watch what they say online.
"People are getting in trouble for Twitter postings on an almost daily basis," said First Amendment Attorney Doug Mirell, a partner at Loeb and Loeb who did not handle the case.
"The laws controlling what is and isn't libelous are the same regardless of the medium in which the statements appear," he said.
Nancy Derwin-Weiss, an attorney who specializes in digital entertainment and advertising law, said the amount was sure to get the attention of stars and their handlers.
"I think it's just a wake up call," she said. "It's something that their advisers should talk to them about."
Simorangkir's attorney, Bryan J. Freedman, predicted the case would spark conversations between celebrities and their advisers.
"The fact is that this case shows that the forum upon which you communicate makes no difference in terms of potential legal exposure," Freedman said. "Disparaging someone on Twitter does not excuse one from liability."