Jake Payne’s court battle to unmask the creators of the Jake Payne Report website is taking on shape and dimension beyond angry blogger versus retaliating targets.

Payne’s attorney, Daniel Canon, filed a response yesterday to a motion to quash filed earlier this month by defense attorney Ben Carter.

And, yeah, as you would expect with anything concerning Jake, freedom of speech and the right to Internet anonymity, the rhetoric is getting amped up a bit as this case goes along toward a dénouement.

The case started in April when Payne, who blogs at PageOne Kentucky and The ‘Ville Voice, sued the anonymous blogger or bloggers who created a parody site, Jake Payne Watch.

Payne claims the site is defamatory and is asking Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Barry Willett to make them unanonymous.

Both attorneys acknowledge in their motions that the stakes are high – “Jacob Payne versus Anonymous Bloggers” likely will set new legal precedent for what is on-line defamation, and whether it trumps the right to remain anonymous on the Internet.

In his filing Tuesday, Canon made three overall points, but not without a gig or two at Carter’s motion to quash, filed May 9:

“For all its lofty discourse about the Freedom of Speech, political dissent, the Federalist Papers, Mark Twain and the like, the Defendant’s 36-page argument basically comes down to one argument: The Defendant, simply by the virtue of the fact he wishes to remain anonymous, should have the right to defame the Plaintiff.”

Canon was out of the office and could not be reached for comment. Carter declined to comment while the case is active.

In yesterday’s filing, Canon cites precedent in Kentucky law in making his argument that Jake Payne Report “communications are defamatory per se.”

Jake Payne Watch has posted accusations Payne fudged his resume including his claim of having a doctorate from American University in Washington, D.C. Among the many allegations, Jake Payne Watch’s creator intimates Payne pulled his punches on  Kentucky Senator David Williams, who is running for governor, after Williams’ campaign started advertising on his websites.

Canon also cites comments posted on the site, such as this beaut:

Of course the administrator of this site is going to remain anonymous. Unlike Payne he probably has friends, a family, people he cares about, a life. Payne has none of these things and has no problem making things up. He has a long record of lying shamelessly, extorting people to give him money in order to cease lying about them, and going after the family and friends of people who dare to call him out. [It’s good to see somebody read the Sunday post]

Here are the major points from Canon’s filing yesterday.

  • Jake Payne Watch is defamatory under Kentucky law including claims Payne “burns sources” on PageOne. Further, Canon wrote, Jake Payne Watch has “directly accused Plaintiff of criminal activity that amounts to felony offenses” such as felony extortion. Canon used the analogy of the Courier-Journal publishing an article accusing a television personality of child sex abuse: “(T)here would be no question that the author would be liable for defamation per se.”
  • Canon’s motion argues Jake Payne Watch is not parody or satire site and, by extension, protected speech. “The Defendant’s blog was not create for comedic effect but rather to allegedly “expose’ the Plaintiff’s alleged hypocrisy, lies and crimes.”
  • Canon’s motion argues that Payne’s status as a public figure should not shield the defendant’s anonymity.

Canon hangs a big part of his argument asking Willett to unmask the Jake Payne Watch creators on Cohen v. Google, the 2009 case in which a New York court agreed to force Google to reveal the creator of a site insulting a fashion model.  The next proceedings for Jacob Payne versus Anonymous Bloggers are scheduled for July 5 in District Six court.

More as we know more.

The players:

Daniel Canon
  • Dan Canon, who practices at Clay Frederick Adams. Canon graduated from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. He’s handled a number of Internet related cases.
  • Ben Carter, who practices at Morris & Player. Carter has degrees from Davidson College in North Carolina and the University of Kentucky College of Law. He’s known locally for his work to help people whose homes have been foreclosed.
Ben Carter

More from Insider Louisville on Jake Payne Watch:

“Jake Payne Watch: Furor over Page One Kentucky blogger shows power of the Internet”

“Jake Payne Watch creator revealed? And the candidates are ….

“Jake Payne Watch creator(s) fight back: ‘Does Jake’s case have enough merit to trample Internet speech rights?’

“Q & A with Jake Payne attorney Daniel Canon: ‘The Internet is not the Wild West’

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Terry Boyd
Terry Boyd has seven years experience as a business/finance journalist, and eight years a military reporter with European Stars and Stripes. As a banking and finance reporter at Business First, Boyd dealt directly with the most influential executives and financiers in Louisville.

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