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Website Operator Not Liable for UGC; Also, Sun Rises in the East

Last month, the Sixth Circuit ruled that website operators are not liable for content provided by others (User Generated Content or UGC) because of Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act in the Jones v....more

Dealing with the Dangers of Online Reviewing

Law tries to find the line between protecting speech and punishing defamation - Online review websites, such as Yelp or Angie’s List, have become a common forum for griping. They give a voice to past customers to...more

Reviews Posted Under a Pseudonym Could be Defamatory

As written on this blog before, plaintiffs often have difficulty when alleging claims of defamation against anonymous defendants. Unsurprisingly, websites that provide a forum for anonymous commentary are loathe to reveal the...more

Copyright As An Online Reputation Management Tool: A Round Hole For A Square Peg

So, how is copyright law doing as an online reputation management tool? We have written many times recently about the use of copyright law to do what defamation law can’t: take stuff down from the internet. A...more

Prime Minister of Singapore Moves for Summary Judgment in Novel Defamation Lawsuit

In papers filed today with the High Court of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong moved for summary judgment in his defamation lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling. The prime minister’s action is the first...more

SLAPP’d in Los Angeles: What types of Lawsuits are Protected by California’s Anti-SLAPP Law

This post is the second in a series on California’s anti-SLAPP law from the perspective of Los Angeles appellate and trial attorney, Jeffrey Lewis. In the prior post, I described in general what California’s anti-SLAPP law...more

When “Slacker” Was A Dirty Word: Defamation And Draft Dodging During World War I

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. The Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914 and, by the end of August 1914, Germany, Russia, France and the United Kingdom had joined the...more

Sixth Circuit Vacates Lower Court Judgment and Awards Website Operator Immunity

In August of 2013, this blog wrote about the case Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings, LLC, 965 F. Supp. 2d 818 (E.D. Ky. 2013) ("Jones I"). As described then, Jones I dealt with the following set of facts...more

Illinois Court of Appeals Reiterates Immunity For Statements in Public Meetings

The Second District Appellate Court recently highlighted the strong protection Illinois law provides for statements by executive officers and members of local government boards and councils, including school boards, during...more

Virginia Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Appeal in Yelp Users Defamation Case

Yelp.com (Yelp) labels itself an "online urban guide." Specifically, the website allows users to write reviews about experiences at businesses they've visited. It also permits users to browse the posted reviews. The...more

Nevada Supreme Court Holds Judicial Privilege for Statements Made to the Media During Litigation is Not Absolute

In Jacobs v. Adelson, 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 44 (Mar. 29, 2014), the Nevada Supreme Court was asked to decide whether statements made to a newspaper during litigation were absolutely privileged. The case involved a defamation...more

Sixth Circuit Holds Website Cannot Be Liable for Postings, Reversing Lower Court

In an important decision issued today, the Sixth Circuit held that the operators of www.TheDirty.com could not be held liable for postings by third parties on the website. The decision reversed the decision of the Eastern...more

Sixth Circuit Reinforces CDA Immunity – Reverses Lower Court in Jones v. Dirty World

On June 16th, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s holding that the gossip site, TheDirty.com, was responsible for its users’ defamatory posts and could not rely on immunity under CDA Section 230. The appeals...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2014

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie - “Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the...more

Defamation Claim Against HBO Sports Documentary Proceeds; International Sporting Goods Supplier Not a Public Figure

On May 16, 2014, in Mitre Sports v. HBO, the Southern District of New York allowed a defamation claim brought by a UK company against HBO to proceed to trial. In doing so, the Court ruled that Mitre Sports International, one...more

DC Court of Appeals Holds that Denial of Motion to Quash Under DC Anti-SLAPP Statute Is Immediately Appealable

Yesterday, in its first decision interpreting the DC Anti-SLAPP statute, the DC Court of Appeals (DC’s highest court) held that: - the denial of a special motion to quash under the statute is immediately appealable...more

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Early Anti-SLAPP Appeals for Anonymous Speakers

In a victory for anonymous speech, journalists and free speech advocates, the D.C. Court of Appeals, in John Doe No. 1 v. Burke (No. 13-CV-83), issued its first decision under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute....more

Online Reputation Protection and Repair

Arriving at his warehouse last week Knott Faire, owner of Faire Carpet Cleaning, discovered yet another complaining critique posted on WELP: “Lots of hype, a mediocre cleaning and a hassle at the end. Don’t get tied up with...more

Pejorative Statements by Former Patient are not Defamatory, but Protected Opinion

It is fair to say that doctors trade on their reputations more so than most other professionals. When one relies on the doctor to ensure his or her health, and occasionally save a life, the import of such a choice often...more

Communications Decency Act Forecloses Liability For “Amplifying,” “Endorsing” and “Adopting” Defamatory Statements With Hyperlink

Two weeks ago, in Vazquez v. Buhl, the Appeals Court of Connecticut affirmed dismissal of a defamation claim against CNBC for hyperlinking to an online report by journalist Teri Buhl. The Court held that, although CNBC...more

The CFAA Does Not Apply To Facebook Photo Theft

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq, is a criminal statute that forbids, among other things, "intentionally access[ing] a protected computer, without authorization" when the access...more

Hospital Accepts Physician’s Invitation To Defame Him

A Vermont doctor sued a hospital for defaming him. The court agreed he’d been defamed but threw the case out anyway. Why? Because the physician had “invited” the defamation. The hospital merely accepted the invitation....more

Living With Others Thinking You're Fu*king Crazy

One of the issues we address in this blog is the notion that social media doesn’t necessarily create new claims, but rather serves as a quicker and easier platform to apply traditional claims that have existed forever. Take...more

A “Dirty” Lawsuit: How a Sex Scandal Could Impact Online Defamation Law

A former high school teacher and NFL cheerleader sleeps with her student. She faces widespread scorn, including scathing Internet comments. Despite the scorn, she becomes engaged to the student....more

Fourth Federal Court Judge Holds That DC Anti-SLAPP Statute Can Be Applied In Federal Court

Another DC federal court judge recently held that the DC anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court, and applied it to dismiss a libel and related torts action. This decision, in Forras v. Rauf, means that four DC federal...more

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