Hi. I hope you can help. I'm going to give background and then ask my questions.
In the past, I had websites with commenting features and a business email that all received slanderous comments / emails. Those sites no longer exist. I was using StatCounter, so I have a record of IPs that hit the sites when the comments / emails were made/sent. I now have other places I write online where people can also leave comments. Same thing - I'm tracking the stats. I have received slanderous comments on some of my writing, and I have recently been signed up for newsletters I didn't sign myself up for. The notices I received have recorded one IP address as the originating requester.
I have a pretty good idea who is doing this. I have emails from the various family members whom I suspect are the people making the slanderous comments (by family I mean the people making the attacks are from the same family, and they are all related to my ex). I know this is *possibly* considered Tortuous Interference with Business Practices, but I have to be able to prove it. The issue is whether I should go to a lawyer and spend the money, if, in the end, I'm not going to be able to prove where the emails / comments are coming from anyway.
The IP addresses back when this was happening several years ago all had nearly identical IP addresses, except the last number or two would change - the numbers after the last decimal and rarely the numbers after the last two decimals.
So here are my questions. I'll number them.
[*]So if I have the IP addresses from emails (none of which are gmail), and I have the IP addresses from the comments on previous business websites and emails, and I have the IP addressees on the most recent newsletter opt-ins, is there a way I can tie them to one or several people / computers?
[*]I have an upcoming custody trial with these people. Can I tie this to any of them with any degree of certainty? (This is assuming the IPs can be tied back in some way.) Like could I make a persuasive argument that even though the last couple of numbers may be slightly off, there is a high degree of certainty that the comments / emails are coming from the same place?
[*]What is the likelihood that I could contact the ISP and get a definitive name & address associated with the IPs? And would I need a subpoena to do so?
[*]Do I have other options that you can think of?
Thanks for your help. I look forward to your response.
You'll definitely need a lawyer. You'll need a subpoena in order for the ISP to hand over the physical address of the account where the IP is located.
You might want to call the ISP first and ask them how long they keep those records for. If it's only for a week or so at a time, then you'll need to let them comment several times without baiting them in order to gather enough evidence.....IMO.
Your other option is to block the IP from the website(s). This way they can't leave comments or even get to the site. Do you have read/write permissions to your .htaccess file? You may need to contact your hosting provider to get the answer to this question.