Cracks in California’s Cyber-Revenge Bill

27 08 2013

California’s Senate approved a bill whose supporters claim would crack down on the digital-age problem of “revenge porn.”
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Revenge porn site founder loses $250k defamation suit

21 03 2013

Attorney Marc Randazza hasn’t been quiet about his hatred for so-called revenge porn sites. The copyright and First Amendment lawyer blogged last year that entities like IsAnybodyDown (or the now defunct IsAnyoneUp) frustrated him to the point where he’d represent victims pro bono. “I want to hurt them bad,” he wrote. “If anyone out there has been scammed by these crooks, contact me.”

The larger battle is still ongoing, but Randazza scored a small, initial victory this weekend. In a Friday decision [PDF] at the Clark County, Nevada district court, Randazza Legal Group secured a $250,000 defamation judgment against IsAnyoneUp site founder, Hunter Moore. This particular defamation case was not related to Moore’s revenge porn activities, but it instead focused on statements Moore issued about James McGibney, the CEO of Bullyville.com. restraining orders against Moore in two states. (A longer summary of the situation is available on McGibney’s site.)

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How a “revenge porn” site got built: Fake identities to trade photos

25 02 2013
Earlier this month, “revenge porn” entrepreneur Craig Brittain sat for an on-camera interview with CBS4-Denver, where he explained how his website IsAnybodyDown is nothing more than “entertainment.” Brittain’s site shows nude pictures of people, mostly women, without their consent, along with their personal contact info. The website advertises links to a service called “Takedown Hammer” which promises to get victims off the site if they pay $250. Many assume the “Hammer” is Brittain, since its e-mails come from the same IP address; Brittain denies it. In any case, to many of the victims, Brittain’s site looks like a simple extortion scheme.Now, Brian Maass, the same CBS4 reporter who investigated Brittain in that piece, has a new piece up in which he may have caught Brittain in an even more serious lie.

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Google loses “Melbourne Crime” defamation case, man feels “vindicated”

19 02 2013

An Australian court has ruled that a Melbourne man was defamed by Google. Why? Because the search giant had posted images linked to his name on Google Images, implying that he was a criminal. Milorad “Michael” Trkulja was victorious in a similar case against Yahoo in March 2012, where he won A$250,000 ($233,000). The Victoria Supreme Court’s Justice David Beach is expected to rule on damages next week.

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Online Reviews: When Do They Go From Helpful to Defamatory?

18 02 2013

Thanks in part to websites like Angie’s List and Yelp, the internet is chock full of “user reviews” for all types of goods and services, from restaurants to dentists to pet groomers.

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Another Court Finds Online Statements With Links Are Not Defamatory – Seldon v. Compass Restaurant

11 02 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani with comments from Eric]

Seldon v. Compass Restaurant, 2012 NY Slip Op 32673(U) (NY Sup Ct. Oct. 21, 2012)

Eric posted about Redmond v. Gawker Media, a California case where the court found that use of links by a Gawker author helped defeat a claim for defamation. This case reaches a similar result.

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Newspaper Not Liable for Moderated Online Reader Comments–Gains v. Romkey (Catch-Up Post)

11 02 2013

By Eric Goldman

Gains v. Romkey, 2012 IL App (3d) 110594-U (Ill. App. Ct. July 3, 2012)

This is yet another case holding that 47 USC 230 immunizes newspapers from reader comments to their online stories, in this case even though the newspapers moderated the reader comments. This is an unsurprising finding; as I’ve documented before, to date (as far as I know), newspapers have always won cases over online reader posts. Still, this ruling is in Illinois state courts, where the hideous Lansing v. Southwest Airlines ruling butchered 47 USC 230 just one month before this opinion. So, it’s nice to see a sensible Section 230 ruling from an Illinois state court after the Lansing train wreck.

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What Should We Do About Revenge Porn Sites Like Texxxan? (Forbes Cross-Post)

10 02 2013

Periodically, a new controversy springs up about a website that encourages users to post anti-social or distasteful content.  A few years ago it was sites like JuicyCampus or People’s Dirt that requested users to gossip about each other; followed by IsAnyoneUp? that linked user-submitted pornographic photos to the subject’s Facebook page.  The latest website to stir up a media frenzy is Texxxan.com, which encourages users to post “revenge porn,” i.e., pornographic depictions of former lovers, ostensibly to get revenge on them.

The Texxxan Lawsuit Will Fail

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UPDATE: Prof. Mary Anne Franks (University of Miami) offers numerous criticisms of this post, including explaining why “Prof. Goldman’s piece, and revenge porn defenses generally, goes beyond garden-variety victim-blaming.”

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This Is One of the Top Ten Best Blog Posts Ever Written about Online Defamation

6 02 2013

Although we have confidence in the quality of our work, the headline above might be viewed by some as mere hyperbole or rhetorical exaggeration. And that is the case with most top ten lists, at least those that are based on consumer reviews, a court recently ruled. In Seaton v. TripAdvisor, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118584 (E.D. Tenn. August 22, 2012), the district court concluded that 2011 Trip Advisor “Dirtiest Hotels” ranking constituted hyperbolic opinion and rhetorical exaggeration, and thus was not actionable under Tennessee defamation law.

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State Appeals Court Concludes Employer Not Protected by CDA Section 230 in Employee Stalking Case, and Seems to Shrink the Statute along the Way

6 02 2013

An Illinois state appeals court recently held that although an employer that provided network connectivity to its employees is an “interactive service provider” under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the statute does not protect the employer from negligent supervision claims based upon the employee’s alleged use of the network to communicate threats to a third party. The plaintiff claimed that he had notified the employer that the employee was threatening and harassing him, but the employer failed to take action to stop the employee’s conduct. Lansing v. Southwest Airlines Co., 2012 IL App (1st) 101164 (Ill. Ct. App. June 8, 2012).

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