In Missouri, it is possible to sue for defamation of a pen name, but not for defamation of an internet pseudonym. The basic fact situation is as follows. Plaintiff has written several erotic stories under a "pen name," but has not sold any work for profit. Defendant made several statements about Plaintiff's "pen name" which plaintiff now alleges are false and defamatory.
Defendant makes a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the grounds that because plaintiff has never sold any of his works for profit, nor is there any realistic likelihood that he ever will, his "pen name" is not a true pen name for purposes of Missouri defamation law, but is instead a mere internet pseudonym.
Who wins? Can you cite any authority for your argument? I.e., I'm looking for someone who actually knows something about the distinction between "pen names" and "internet pseudonyms" here.
Couple of more quick facts:
The stories were published on various internet erotic stories sites. Plaintiff's stories have been downloaded by several thousand people. The allegedly defamatory comments were posted in the review section of one of the erotic stories sites.
One more fact: the stories are not generally well received by readers, but a few readers really like them.