Welcome to the website of the Digital Media Law Project. The DMLP was a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society from 2007 to 2014. Due to popular demand the Berkman Klein Center is keeping the website online, but please note that the website and its contents are no longer being updated. Please check any information you find here for accuracy and completeness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
We are looking for contributing authors with expertise in media law, intellectual property, First Amendment, and other related fields to join us as guest bloggers. If you are interested, please contact us for more details.