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Court allows usernames to be sued (2)

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

15:54, May 15, 2012

"We've prepared for this special courtroom since the beginning of this year, hoping to cope with online conflicts in a more effective way," Zhang said, adding they had already accepted a case and begun talking with the plaintiff's lawyers.

The court also selected four judges to hear online cases. Those selected have strong interest in the Internet, are 33 years old on average, and they have at least three years of working experience.

"After all, young legal officers are more familiar with the Internet and have innovative ideas about how to hear such cases," he said.

Liu Honghui, a Beijing-based lawyer specializing in online cases, welcomed this innovative trial method and said he thinks it is a progressive way to hear Internet disputes.

"A courtroom for online cases is very necessary because many infringements, such as slander, insult, invasions of privacy and intellectual property violations, happen frequently through the Internet," he said.

It has been hard for residents and lawyers to confirm violators' identities by themselves, but if legal departments intervene in investigating defendants' information, it may be easier, he said.

However, not all special courtrooms work well like the one in Poyang county.

"It's still too difficult to find online violators without specific names or addresses because not all netizens use their real identities when surfing the Internet," said an official surnamed Zhu, who works for Qingshanhu district people's court in Nanchang city, another court participating in the pilot program.

Zhu said judges in his court received a case about an online dispute in November last year.

A plaintiff sued a netizen named laohuniang, or tiger mom, saying the other party had slandered him on an online forum.

"We investigated the sued, but didn't find where he was from and his real identity. And the plaintiff withdrew the case in the end," Zhu said.

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