“Wiggin Out” Over a Wig Purchase Dispute Leads to Online Defamation – Sanders v. Walsh

24 11 2013

At what point does online mudslinging become actionable defamation? In September, an appellate court in California upheld a wig seller’s liability for defamatory statements made on online forums, focusing on the false factual nature of the claims.

Cite: Sanders v. Walsh, 219 Cal.App.4th 855 (Sept. 16, 2013).

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For more information, see Eric’s post: “Want to Avoid Defaming Someone Online? Link to your Sources.

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/11/wiggin-out-over-a-wig-purchase-dispute-leads-to-online-defamation-sanders-v-walsh.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Social Media Rant Against Airline Employee Wasn’t Defamatory But May Be False Light–Patterson v. Grant-Herms

24 10 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani with comments from Eric]

Patterson v. Grant-Herms, 2013 Tenn. App. 675 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 8, 2013)

Defendant Natalie Grant-Herms wasn’t allowed to early board a flight with her four year old daughter, who was not eligible for early boarding because she was seated in row 34.  Grant-Herms took to social media to stir up awareness about her plight. She posted the following on Twitter, Facebook and Southwest.com (some tweets are still online, and linked below):

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/10/twitter_faceboo.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



YouTube Gets Easy Section 230 Win–Gavra v Google

8 10 2013

By Eric Goldman

Gavra v. Google Inc., 2013 WL 3788241 (N.D. Cal. July 17, 2013). The complaint.

I [heart] easy 47 USC 230 cases. Here, a Romanian lawyer felt 13 YouTube clips, posted by an ex-client, defamed her. After sending an unsuccessful takedown notice to YouTube and initiating an unresolved prosecution in Romania, Gavra sued Google “for invasion of privacy, defamation, and ‘blackmail/extortion,’ arising from Google’s continuing distribution of the videos even after Gavra provided notice.”

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/07/youtube_gets_ea.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Dentist who used copyright to silence her patients is on the run

8 10 2013
A lawsuit regarding a dentist and her ticked-off patient was meant to be a test of a controversial copyright contract created by a company called Medical Justice. Just a day after the lawsuit was filed, though, Medical Justice backed down, saying it was “retiring” that contract.Now, more than a year after the lawsuit was filed, the case against Dr. Stacy Makhnevich seems to have turned into a case about a fugitive dentist. Makhnevich is nowhere to be found, won’t defend the lawsuit, and her lawyers have asked to withdraw from the case.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/07/dentist-who-used-copyright-to-silence-her-patients-is-on-the-run/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Calling Out Scraper for “Stealing” Data Is Not Defamatory – Tamburo v. Dworkin

4 10 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Tamburo v. Dworkin, 04 C 3317 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2013)

Kristen Henry built a database of pedigrees for Schipperkes dogs, a “small, mischievous Belgian dog breed.” She made the database freely available through her website at bonchien dot com. Tamburo, the plaintiff, operated Versity (d/b/a “Man’s Best Friend Software”), a now defunct entity, and scraped the information compiled by Henry. According to Henry, not only did Tamburo obtain this information from Henry’s website, Tamburo offered the data for a fee to his end users (as part of a larger product package).

Understandably chagrined, Henry, who testified that she felt “frustrated and violated” by defendants’ use of her database, engaged in an email and online campaign to set the record straight. She posted messages and sent emails to various individuals who were a part of the Schipperke community, alerting them to Tamburo’s actions:

. . . .

Based on these and other statements, Tamburo and his entity filed a complaint against Henry and various other defendants. Nine years later, counts for defamation and tortious interference with contract remained. (There may have been counterclaims or other claims, but this order focuses on the remaining claims against Henry.)

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/10/calling_out_scr.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



First bill banning “revenge porn” passes in California

4 10 2013

The governor of California has signed Senate Bill 255, which will make the posting of “revenge porn” a crime.

. . . .In California, anyone distributing nude photos online with an “intent to harass or annoy” can now face six months in jail as well as a $1,000 fine. The bill was signed yesterday and goes into effect immediately.

 

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/first-bill-banning-revenge-porn-passes-in-california/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Sixth Circuit Affirms ‘Dirtiest Hotel’ Defamation Ruling

26 09 2013

We previously wrote about a Tennessee district court’s decision holding that a hotel’s inclusion at the top of the 2011 TripAdvisor “Dirtiest Hotels” list constituted hyperbolic opinion and rhetorical exaggeration, and thus was not actionable under Tennessee defamation law.  This past month, a circuit court upheld the ruling.

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The content in this post was found at http://newmedialaw.proskauer.com/2013/09/23/sixth-circuit-affirms-dirtiest-hotel-defamation-ruling/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NewMediaAndTechnologyLaw+%28New+Media+and+Technology+Law%29 and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Sixth Circuit to Construe Scope of CDA Section 230 Immunity on Appeal of Unusual Jones v. Dirty World Decision

23 09 2013

How can a website operator lose the broad immunity for liability associated with user-generated content conferred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA)?

Section 230 has been consistently interpreted by most courts to protect website operators against claims arising out of third-party content, despite some less than honorable conduct by operators.  See, for example, our previous post here.  Courts have applied Section 230 even when they have found it problematic to do so, such as in Directory Assistants, Inc. v. Supermedia, LLC, 2012 WL 3329615 (E.D. Va. May 30, 2012), in which the court wrote, “The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements could have widespread and potentially catastrophic consequences for individuals and entities alike.  Nevertheless, under the CDA the Court’s hands are tied.”

Thus, it is with great interest that we watch the appeal to the Sixth Circuit, filed on July 15, 2013, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky’s unusual decision in Jones v. Dirty World, 840 F.Supp.2d 1008 (E.D. Ky. 2012).  In Jones, the court dismissed the defendant website operators’ motion for summary judgment based on Section 230, leading to a jury award this past July of $380,000 in compensatory and punitive damages against the defendants for defamation and invasion of privacy.  In the court’s opinion, and in its supplemental memorandum opinion issued after the jury verdict to “explain further” its rationale, Judge William O. Bertelsman drew a line less favorable to website operators with respect to third-party content than other courts have generally adopted.

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The content in this post was found at http://newmedialaw.proskauer.com/2013/09/20/sixth-circuit-to-construe-scope-of-cda-section-230-immunity-on-appeal-of-unusual-jones-v-dirty-world-decision/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NewMediaAndTechnologyLaw+%28New+Media+and+Technology+Law%29 and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



TripAdvisor’s “Dirtiest Hotels” List Isn’t Defamatory—Seaton v. TripAdvisor

2 09 2013

Seaton v. TripAdvisor LLC, 2013 WL 4525870 (6th Cir. Aug. 28, 2013)

TripAdvisor published a list of the “Dirtiest Hotels” based on users’ rankings, including some unflattering quotes from users’ reviews. One of the listed hotels sued TripAdvisor for defamation and related claims. Last year, the district court ruled in favor of TripAdvisor. This week, the Sixth Circuit affirmed.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/08/tripadvisors_di.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



The Latest Attempt to Use Copyright Law to Remove Negative Consumer Reviews–Small Justice v. Xcentric (Forbes Cross-Post)

27 08 2013

By Eric Goldman

Like many other business owners, Richard Goren, a Massachusetts attorney, was unhappy with an online consumer review about his business. Like many other business owners, he was frustrated by his inability to remove the review from Ripoff Report, which says it doesn’t remove consumer reviews and won’t let authors remove them either. Where Goren’s story diverges from prior stories is that he thinks he found an innovative way to use copyright law to solve his problem. This post will explain the different tactics businesses typically use to redress unwanted consumer reviews, Goren’s novel approach to dealing with Ripoff Report, and why his tactic will fail.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/08/the_latest_effo.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.