Section 230 Doesn’t Protect Employer From Negligent Supervision Claim–Lansing v. Southwest Airlines. Warning: Ugly Opinion

30 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

June 20, 2012

[this case does not involve IP directly. However, the implications of narrowing the section 230 ISP safe harbor has broad application for online IP, ed.]

Lansing v. Southwest Airlines Co., 2012 IL App (1st) 101164 (Ill. Ct. App. June 8, 2012)

Overview

This is a bad opinion. The court reaches the correct result that 47 USC 230 doesn’t immunize an employer for an employee’s activities. However, in reaching that fairly obvious result, the opinion—completely gratuitously—denigrates Section 230 in ways that seem designed to shrink Section 230’s footprint in other types of cases. Making the immunity more limited as binding Illinois law will lead to plenty of unnecessary and costly mischief with no countervailing benefit. As a result, this opinion would benefit from an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court to clean up the doctrinal sloppiness, even if the Supreme Court affirms the substantive ruling.

more


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/06/section_230_doe.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Another Bad Ruling for PissedConsumer on Trademark and 47 USC 230 Claims–Amerigas v. Opinion Corp.

25 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

Amerigas Propane, LP v. Opinion Corp., 2012 WL 2327788 (E.D. Pa. June 19, 2012)

You may recall PissedConsumer, the site that solicits user gripes, SEOs the crud out of them, and then offers the griped business pay-to-play to downgrade the visibility of those reviews. Its litigation docket is heating up, and I’ve recently blogged on two prior rulings (Ascentive and Vo).

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/06/another_bad_rul_1.html and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



“Hot Topics in Internet Law” Talk Slides

5 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

This weekend I presented on “Hot Topics in Internet Law” at the San Francisco IP Law Association’s Spring Seminar in Healdsburg. My talk slides. A few photos from the trip. As I’ve mentioned before, I find “hot topics” talks unusually challenging to prepare–they take much more time than normal talks, they are hard to organize, and they have a high risk of preemption by prior speakers. In addition to quick coverage of a number of topics, I focused on 5 broader topics (I only addressed 3 in the time I had):

* intermediary deputization
* consumer reviews
* social media account disputes
* trolling
* new gTLDs

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/06/hot_topics_in_i.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



TheDirty Defeats Publicity Rights Claims–Gauck v. Karamian

1 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

Gauck v. Karamian, 2011 WL 3273123 (W.D.Tenn. July 29, 2011)

TheDirty.com has an increasingly active litigation docket. This case comes from Lauren Lee Gauck Giovanetti, a TV news reporter for Fox 13 in Memphis, Tennessee. She sued over two user-submitted posts to TheDirty that claimed she “used illicit drugs, was sexually promiscuous, exchanged sexual favors in return for drugs and money, and assaulted an unknown person.” The posts contained photos of her and several nude photos that also claimed to be of her, but she denied that claim. As usual, Nik Richie added his terse and snarky comments to the user posts. He also watermarked the photos and covered up portions of the nude photos.

Gauck sought an injunction based on her publicity rights. The court sidesteps the obvious 47 USC 230 defense, assuming without deciding that the publicity rights claim would fit into 230’s IP exception.

Instead, the court rejects the injunction request on the merits of the publicity rights claim.

More coverage of TheDirty litigation:

* TheDirty Defeats Privacy Invasion Lawsuit–Dyer v. Dirty World
* thedirty.com’s 47 USC 230 Defense Rejected on Motion to Dismiss–Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/08/thedirty_defeat_1.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Doctor v. Patient Lawsuits Over Online Reviews

1 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

I’m trying to comprehensively catalog doctor vs. patient lawsuits over online reviews of the doctor. I’m equally interested in suits by other health care professionals; I’ve noticed dentists are surprisingly litigious. I’ve included lawsuits against intermediate publishers where the underlying litigation involves a patient review. I’ve also included suits where the review author was a family member of the patient, but I’m excluding other posts by non-patients.

Here’s the list I’ve developed so far:

* Nevyas v. Morgan, 309 F. Supp. 2d 673 (E.D. Pa. 2004)
* Bosley Medical Institute, Inc. v. Kremer, 403 F.3d 672 (9th Cir. 2005)
* Barrett v. Rosenthal, 146 P.3d 510 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2006)
* Gilbert v. Sykes, 53 Cal. Rptr. 3d 752 (Cal. App. Ct. 2007)
* Alvi Armani Medical, Inc. v. Hennessey, 629 F. Supp. 2d 1302 (S.D. Fla. 2008)
* Biegel v. Norberg, San Francisco Superior Ct. case # CGC-08-472522 (filed Feb. 25, 2008)
* Kim v. IAC/InterActive Corp., 2008 WL 3906427 (Cal. App. Ct. 2008)
* Reit v. Yelp, Inc., 29 Misc.3d 713 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2010)
* Wong v. Jing, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1354 (Cal. App. Ct. 2010)
* Rahbar v. Batoon, San Francisco Superior Ct., case # CGC-09-492145 (filed Sept. 2, 2009) and case # CGC-10-502884 (filed August 20, 2010)
* McKee v. Laurion Case # 69-DU-CV-10-1706 (Minn. Dist. Ct. Apr. 28, 2011)
* Lynch v. Christie, Slip Copy, 2011 WL 3920154 (D. Me. Sept. 7, 2011)
* Pensler v. Hostetler, 10 CH 35876 (filed 8/19/10); Pensler v. Cuevas, 10 CH 35238 (filed 8/16/10); and Pensler v. Bender, 09 CH 18628 (filed 6/10/09) (all in Cook County Court)
* Henry v. Does 1-100, CIV095020; plus the apparently related Henry v. Carson, CIV1002670, and Henry v. Tamara M., CIV1003042 (all in Marin Superior Court)

Three other cases that are close but factually distinguishable:

* Townson v. Liming, 2010 WL 2767984 (Tex. App. Ct. 2010)
* Lifestyle Lift Holding Co. Inc. v. Prendiville, 768 F. Supp. 2d 929 (E.D. Mich. 2011)
* Darm v. Craig, Case 1107-08823, Oregon Circuit Court

Please email me if you have any suggestions of other cases I should check out.

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/09/request_for_hel.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



PissedConsumer Denied Section 230 Immunity and Can’t Shake Extortion Claim—Vo v. Opinion Corp.

1 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

Vo Group v. Opinion Corp., 8758/11 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. May 22, 2012)

PissedConsumer is a consumer review site occupying the same market niche as Ripoff Report. It only wants negative consumer reviews of businesses (as signaled by its name), and its basic business model is to rank the negative consumer reviews highly in Google search results and then charge the businesses money to take the edge off that indexing. Vo Group got snared in PissedConsumer’s scheme and chose not to pony up the requested cash ($5k) to PissedConsumer. Instead it sued PissedConsumer for a potpourri of claims. PissedConsumer moved to dismiss the lawsuit, and the resulting opinion is a mixed bag. Some highlights:

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/06/pissedconsumer.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Canadian Supreme Court rules you can’t defame someone with a hyperlink

31 05 2012


You may now exhale, Canadian journalists, bloggers, and Twitter users. Canada’s Supreme Court has unanimously decided that posting a hyperlink to an allegedly defamatory article does not constitute defamation itself.

more

The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/10/canadian-supreme-court-you-can-post-hyperlinks-without-getting-sued/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Service Provider’s Intent in Removing Positive Reviews Irrelevant in Assessing Availability of CDA Section 230 Protection

30 05 2012

A lawsuit against consumer review site Yelp! has yielded an opinion that demonstrates the breadth of the protection afforded interactive service providers under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In Levitt v. Yelp! Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124082 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 26, 2011), a group of putative class action plaintiffs filed an action against the site under Section 17200 of the California Business and Professions Code, claiming that the site manipulated its consumer review functionality to extort advertising revenues from the plaintiff businesses.

more
The content in this post was found at http://newmedialaw.proskauer.com/2011/11/10/service-providers-intent-in-removing-positive-reviews-irrelevant-in-assessing-availability-of-cda-section-230-protection/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20NewMediaAndTechnologyLaw%20%28New%20Media%20and%20Technology%20Law%29 and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Spiritual Group’s Attempt to Unmask Online Critics Goes South–Art of Living Foundation v. Does

29 05 2012

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Art of Living Foundation v. Does, 10-cv-05022-LHK (N.D. Ca.; Nov. 9, 2011)

Art of Living Foundation is an organization based in India that is dedicated to teaching the spiritual lessons of “His Holiness Ravi Shankar.” Defendants are disgruntled former “student-teachers and students” of plaintiff who want to bring to light their view that AOLF is a “manipulative and abusive cult.” Defendants posted blogs under the pseudonyms “Skywalker” and “Klim.”

AOLF sued, alleging various claims including defamation, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement and trade libel. AOLF also alleged that defendants published AOLF’s copyrighted “Breathe Sound Water Manual.” AOLF sought leave to conduct expedited discovery. This request was approved and AOLF issued subpoenas to Google and Automattic. Before Google and Auttomatic complied with the subpoenas, defendants appeared through counsel and moved to dismiss AOLF’s defamation claim, strike its trade secrets claim, and also moved to quash the discovery. Skywalker acknowledged that he published the manual, but said that he posted this solely as part of his larger campaign to bring awareness to his views about AOLF.

Other coverage:
Public Citizen: Federal Judge Protects Anonymity of Blogger Despite the Allegedly Infringing Posting of a Copyrighted Teaching Manual
Techdirt: Courts Can’t Ignore Free Speech Concerns Just Because Someone Claims Copyright Infringement
Wendy Davis: Court Rejects Bid To Unmask “Art of Living” Critic
RCFP: Federal judge preserves blogger’s anonymity

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/12/spiritual_group.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Blogger not eligible for media shield law, hit with $2.5M judgment

29 05 2012

An Oregon judge has ruled that a Montana blogger is not eligible for the legal protections afforded to journalists, letting stand a $2.5 million defamation verdict.

more

The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/12/judge-blogger-not-eligible-for-oregon-media-shield-law/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.