Legal Question in Civil Litigation in New York

Quick Question: What are the legal consequences, if any, to providing false executive names to either a media reporter or to an online blogger, and they ultimately publish an article with such names?

In detail: I've recently joined a stealth start up company which is actually a spin-off of a much larger Fortune 200 company as a CTO.

A start up blogging website (think: TechCrunch-type level) recently called and emailed me to get some further information on the start up. Now granted someone on our team invoked the inquiry after submitting a tip to that website in an effort to generate a little buzz. The TechCrunch-like website wants names of the executives in order to publish the piece.

But some people on the team do not want to be named at this moment, particularly ME. What are the legal consequences, if any, to submitting a fake name to the reporter? We have no contract nor did I have to sign any terms and conditions guaranteeing that the statements I'm making are true. I was thinking of submitting a fake name for my position as well as a fake name for one of our VPs.

Asked on 6/02/12, 12:37 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Kristen Browde Browde Law, P.C.

It's less a question of legal consequence than of being stupid and short sighted. If you're caught in a lie that lie may live as long as the company does.

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Answered on 6/02/12, 2:42 am
Roman Fichman Esq. Law Practice of Roman Fichman Esq.

It is common to ask a reporter to embargo a name. If the reporter agrees, typically reporters stick to their promises but there are no guarantees. I highly recommend that you run this by your company's attorney. If you guys don't have one, feel free to contact me directly. I represent tech startups and have had dealings with tech media in the past.

Roman R. Fichman, Esq. │ @TheLegalist

email: Info (@) TheLegalist (dot) com

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Disclaimer: This post has been written for educational purposes only and was not meant to be legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or be relied upon. The post may contain errors, inaccuracies and/or omissions. You should always consult an attorney admitted to practice in your jurisdiction for specific advice. This post may be deemed as Attorney Advertising.

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Answered on 6/02/12, 10:02 pm

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