Twitter libel suit costs Courtney Love £265,000

Ranting in 140 characters has cost Courtney Love $430,000 (£265,000) after she was accused of libelling a fashion designer on Twitter.

The singer agreed to settle Dawn Simorangkir's libel suit rather than face a jury in a courtroom showdown. It is thought to have been the first libel settlement prompted by tweets.

Love had used Twitter and her MySpace account to declare Simorangkir, who is behind the Boudoir Queen designer label, a thief and a criminal. Love's ire is said to have been sparked in 2009 by the designer's decision to send Love a bill for five outfits.

In her tweets, Love, the widow of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, launched into vicious attacks against the designer. She also posted a diatribe on Simorangkir's own fashion website.

Bryan Freedman, the designer's lawyer, said: "Personally I think $430,000 is an appropriate way to say she's sorry." Neither Love nor her lawyer, Michael Niborski, had commented on the outcome of the case last night.

The first Twitter libel case to reach and be decided in court was that of Chris Cairns, the New Zealand cricketer, and Lalit Modi, the chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League and vice-president of the Board of Cricketing Control for India.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled in December at the High Court in London that tweets can be seen by thousands of people very quickly and he rejected Mr Modi's attempt to get the case thrown out as an abuse of process.

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