Communications & Media Science, Computers & Technology Personal Injury

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So You Think You Have a Contract? Website Terms and Unconscionability

We have written previously regarding the pitfalls of online contract formation, including where website operators fail to implement website terms in a manner that requires users to expressly accept such terms. A recent...more

QVC Sues Shopping App for Web Scraping That Allegedly Triggered Site Outage

Operators of public-facing websites are typically concerned about the unauthorized, technology-based extraction of large volumes of information from their sites, often by competitors or others in related businesses. The...more

Forced to Cyber-Spy: Court Rules Parents Can Be Held Negligent for Child’s Facebook Activity

Are parents now liable for what their kids post to Facebook? According to a recent decision in the Georgia Court of Appeals, they are. The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the parents of a seventh-grade student...more

Single Publication Rule Vulnerable to Online Interaction Between Authors and Users

Reader comment sections have become ubiquitous to websites that host original content. They serve the interests of the website host by attracting traffic and ultimately advertising revenue, generating buzz for contributors...more

A Tort of Privacy for Australia?

The ALRC has recommended (once again), in a recent report regarding the Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era, that a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy be introduced. The proposal by...more

Section 230 Does Not Apply to Allegations that Website for Models Failed to Warn Plaintiff About Potential for Rape

The 9th Circuit earlier this month decided that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, does not bar claims that a networking website for models failed to warn a member that a third party might use the...more

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: CDA Does Not Bar Claims for Failure to Warn - Communications Decency Act May Be Exploited by...

In reversing the dismissal of a negligent failure to warn action, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals appears to have carved out an exception to the immunity afforded to website operators under the Communications Decency Act...more

Status Updates - September 2014

..We can work it out. Actress Katherine Heigl and the Duane Reade chain of drugstores have settled a $6 million federal suit filed by Heigl this past April in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. ...more

Lawsuits Against Social Media Sites Rarely a Good Idea – This One Probably Isn’t Either

A Houston area woman has sued Facebook asking for $123 million because Facebook was slow to take down a fake a profile created by her ex-boyfriend with pornographic images. The plaintiff sued Facebook and the...more

Weeks II: Innovator Liability Finds a Sweet Home in Alabama

Last week, the Supreme Court of Alabama confirmed its January 2013 holding that manufacturers of brand drugs can be liable for injuries caused by generic drugs. Weeks v. Wyeth, Inc., No. 1101397, slip op. (Ala. Aug. 15,...more

Internet liability rules change (again) after Wikipedia case

Internet liability rules applicable to Wikipedia are different from the ones with which YouTube has to comply according to the Court of Rome as Wikipedia has now been declared not liable to for the defamatory contents...more

False Advertising, Section 75-1.1, and A Seven-Figure Verdict

In a recent federal case, section 75-1.1 made the difference between the plaintiff recovering nothing and recovering almost two million dollars. This outcome underscores two key features of section 75-1.1...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

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

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

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

Manipulating User Postings Removes Service Provider from CDA Immunity

As detailed on this blog before, the immunity from "publisher or speaker" liability for interactive computer service providers under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is broad and generally encompasses a wide variety of...more

Advertising Law - Feb 28, 2014

9th Circuit Pulls the Shades Down on “Shine the Light” Lawsuit - The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected an appeal of a district court’s dismissal of a claim made under California’s “Shine the Light,”...more

Courtney Love, Yelp and Internet libel: Nevermind, it’s not a trend

Courtney Love goes to trial, in a suit by her former attorney, based on a social media message that accused the attorney of being “bought off.” A Yelp user and the contractor she criticized go at each other in court over...more

Freedom of Speech on the Internet: The Power of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Experienced First Amendment lawyers know that websites hosting user-created content are extremely difficult to sue for defamation. This is due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, codified at 47 U.S.C. §...more

Back From The Land Of Trial Mode: January Quicklinks

There has not been much activity on the blog because we have been engaged in a long copyright and misappropriation of trade secrets trial. So, we share with you some of the articles we have been reading, but just haven’t had...more

District Court Reaffirms that Service Provider will be Granted Immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Via Section 230, the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides broad immunity for service providers, hosts and website operators for claims stemming from their publication of information created by third parties....more

Advertising Law -- Oct 18, 2013

Introducing TCPA Connect - On October 16, the FCC's updated Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations finally took effect. The new rules pose significant challenges for companies seeking to communicate with...more

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