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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

Could US Law Ever Recognize the “Right to Be Forgotten”?

Can there be a “Right to Be Forgotten” Law in the U.S.? The “right to be forgotten” in the online sphere has recently been protected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the European Union. According...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

Use Good Sense to Avoid Making Bad Law

Lawyers often say that bad facts lead to bad law. Cases with outrageous fact patterns can drive a judge or jury to stretch the law and make outcome-based decisions in order to provide relief to a sympathetic party. Lawyers...more

Advertising Law -- Sep 26, 2013

Julia Child Foundation Whips Up Lawsuit Against Williams-Sonoma - Williams-Sonoma illegally used the name and likeness of the late Julia Child more than 100 times in advertising, marketing, and promotional materials...more

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

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...more

Germany: Google not held liable for link to website with allegedly defamatory content

On 5 September 2013 the District Court in Mönchengladbach rejected the claim brought by a history professor (plaintiff) against Google (defendant). The plaintiff’s claim for cease and desist targeted at the deletion of a link...more

The Trademark "Twist"

Judge Alsup out of the Northern District of California recently issued a decision relating to HP's App Catalogue's (its online store) sale of an app called "Chubby Checker," an app that estimates the size of a male's anatomy...more

Choosing a Specific Domain Name and Adding Commentary to Defamatory Posts Causes Host to Lose §230 Immunity

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

New Remedies For Cyberbullying In Nova Scotia

Provisions of the Nova Scotia Cyber-safety Act came into force today, as announced by the Minister of Justice of Nova Scotia....more

Electronic Arts Fumbles in Lawsuit Brought by College Athletes (again)

College sports is big business. Student-athletes generate truckloads of cash for their schools, but are prohibited by NCAA rules from sharing in the haul. In fact, if the student-athlete learns that someone is commercially...more

Wikipedia NOT liable for defamatory contents

The court of Rome (Italy) held that Wikipedia is not liable for defamatory contents published by its users in a case involving contents published on Wikipedia regarding an Italian lawyer and former politician Mr. Cesare...more

TheDirty.com Held Liable Despite Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act

TheDirty.com is not exactly deserving of sympathy. Much like Playboy and Hustler pushed the boundaries of the First Amendment in the past, rumor sites like TheDirty.com are pushing the limits of Section 230 immunity for...more

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