Thursday, June 4, 2009

Trick or tweet?

Depending on who you tweet to, God's gift of social technological networking, your 140-character Twitter, is being sued. Can I get an amen from the congregation?

Can it be? I thought sliced bread was the greatest thing since Twitter.

But St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is suing the site, claiming an unauthorized page that used his name to make light of drunken driving and two Cardinals pitchers who died damaged his reputation and caused emotional distress.

According to the Associated Press, the suit filed last month in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit claims that someone created a false account under La Russa's name and posted tweets that gave the false impression that the comments came from La Russa. The suit said the comments were "derogatory and demeaning" and damaged La Russa's trademark rights.

The lawsuit includes a screen shot of three tweets. One posted on April 19 said: "Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher."

Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart condition in his Chicago hotel room in 2002. Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock died in an auto accident in April 2007, and the medical examiner measured his blood-alcohol level at of 0.157 — nearly twice the legal limit.

La Russa's lawsuit said the page bearing his name was hurtful to the 64-year-old manager, who has led the Cardinals since 1996 and also managed the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A's during a 30-year managerial career.

The lawsuit includes a screenshot of tweets with the heading "Hey there! Tony La Russa is using Twitter," with a picture of the manager.

Message boards, blog commentary, and now Twitter. The public can anonymously or falsely hide behind names and say just about what they want without risk or penalty. The person who did this will probably escape responsibility, but Twitter won't.

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