Docs Threaten Review Sites With Copyright Suits

5 03 2009

Really interesting use of copyright law (instead of defamation or privacy law) here. [Ed]

by Wendy Davis, 4 hours ago

Media Post: The Daily Online Examiner


TAGS: Web Sites


In the five years since he co-founded, a site where patients rate their doctors, John Swapceinski has been threatened with lawsuits at least once a week. Not one disgruntled physician has actually carried out his threats, Swapceinski tells MediaPost. Indeed, it would be very difficult to sue the site for defamation, given that the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes Web sites from libel cases based on user comments. But, starting six months ago, the nature of the threats changed. That’s when Swapceinski began hearing from doctors who said that reviews on the site violated contracts with their patients. Apparently, some physicians are now asking patients to sign agreements in which they promise they won’t review their doctors online. In some versions of the contracts, called “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy,” doctors promise to prevent patients from “unwanted marketing information” — anonymous targeting by marketers — in exchange for patients’ promise to avoid posting negative reviews to Web sites. And, critically, the contracts also assign the copyright in anything the patients write about their doctors to those doctors.


(may require registration)

The content in this post was found at and was not authored by the moderators of Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment