Quick take: For-profit college, former employee square off in Wikipedia defamation case

24 05 2012

Given the size and scale of its database, it’s remarkable we don’t see more US defamation lawsuits filed (rather than just threatened) over Wikipedia entries. It’s even more remarkable when you consider Wikipedia’s unique editorial practices, such as allowing anyone to edit and not having a paid editorial staff. So the case of Pitale v. Holstine, which pits a company that runs for-profit vocational colleges against a former employee, is unusual.

We’ve seen a few defamation lawsuits over Wikipedia entries, such as those from celebrities (Fuzzy Zoeller, Ron Livingston) and sue-the-world attempts (e.g., Bauer v. Wikimedia). Most of those don’t appear to have gone very far. Indeed, this opinion seems to be the first one in Westlaw’s database to discuss the substance of a defamation claim for Wikipedia edits. The only other similar one I found: Park West Galleries, Inc. v. Hochman, 2009 WL 5151315 (E.D. Mich. December 17, 2009), which allowed the plaintiff to discover who edited the entries in question. Despite its comparative novelty, this opinion reads like a normal defamation opinion. As I’ll explain in a moment, perhaps it shouldn’t.


The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/03/for-profit-college-former-employee-square-off-in-wikipedia-defamation-case/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



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