Third-Party Content

Judge Says Former Congressman Can Get Names of Anonymous Posters from LoHud.com

LoHud.com, an online news site operated by The Journal News that focuses on New York's Lower Hudson Valley, reported on Friday that a Westchester County judge has ruled that it must turn over the names of three pseudonymous posters to former House Representative Richard Ottinger and his wife, June Ottinger.

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Presidential Candidates Fight Online Defamation

Last week some reporters, politicos, and bloggers may have mourned the end of the endless presidential primary season. But it's not like political mudslinging is now going to end. Indeed, in ancticipation of the focus on the general election battle, in the muddy backwaters of the Internet – in forums, blog comments, email chain letters and listservs – defamatory statements are being bandied about in hopes that some of the reputation damaging misinformation will enter the zeitgeist of the electorate to sway public opinion about the candidates one way or another.

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MySpace Wins Important CDA 230 Case in Fifth Circuit

Last Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of negligence claims brought against MySpace by the family of a teenage girl who used the popular social networking site to communicate with and arrange to meet a nineteen-year-0ld boy who sexually assaulted her.

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Roommates.com - Just How Big A Hole Did the Ninth Circuit Poke in CDA 230?

By now you've heard that the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reaffirmed the previous Roommates.com decision.

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N.H. Court Holds Right of Publicity Claim Not Barred by Communications Decency Act

In what appears to be the first case of its kind, a federal court in New Hampshire has ruled that the immunity provisions in section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230) do not bar a state law claim for a violation of a person's "right of publicity." In so holding, the court expressly disagreed with the Ninth Circuit's decision in Perfect 10 v. CCBill LLC, which held that CDA 230 exempts only federal intellectual property law claims from its protections.

The case involves the typically disturbing facts that often arise in the CDA 230 context. The plaintiff, proceeding pseudonymously, sued defendant Friendfinder Network, which operates a number of websites, including “AdultFriendFinder.com” that bills itself as “the World’s Largest SEX and SWINGER Personal Community.” To participate, users register by entering a variety of personal information, creating online profiles that can be viewed by other members of the community.

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New Jersey Prosecutors Set Sights on JuicyCampus

New Jersey prosecutors have subpoenaed the controversial gossip site JuicyCampus as part of an investigation into whether the site is violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

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Slandering Sandwiches and User Submitted Content

Our very own Sam Bayard popped up today in a New York Times article about the Subway v. Quiznos lawsuit, humorously named: "Can a Sandwich be Slandered?" The article does a good job highlighting the complicated issues involved in the case (and implicated by company sponsored competitions for "homemade commercials" generally).

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Kansas Court Issues Search Warrant to Lawrence Journal-World Seeking Identity of Anonymous User

Last month, an investigator at Kansas University delivered a search warrant to the Lawrence Journal-World, a highly regarded newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas, demanding access to their computer servers in order to get information about the identity of a user who had posted comments on the paper's website, LJWorld.com.

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Judge Dismisses Class Action Lawsuit Against Lawyer Rating Site Avvo.com

Yesterday, a federal judge in Washington dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by two prominent lawyers in Seattle against Avvo Inc., the operator of Avvo.com, a website that profiles and rates lawyers and allows users to submit reviews of lawyers they have worked with. Plaintiffs also sued Mark Britton, Avvo's CEO, and 25 anonymous "John Doe" users of the site.

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Primer on Immunity -- and Liability -- for Third-Party Content Under Section 230 of Communications Decency Act

As a lead up to the launch of the Citizen Media Law Project's Legal Guide in January, we'll be putting up longer, substantive blog posts on various subjects covered in the guide. This first post in the series stems from a talk I gave at the Legal Risk Management in the Web 2.0 World conference in Washington, DC.

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