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Communications Decency Act

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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. Dirty World Entertainment decision.
Based on the history of the CDA, that should be no surprise. However, internet lawyers were … Continue Reading

Thankful I didn’t copy images, parody the Beastie Boys, use overbearing TOS or have to stand behind TheDirty

With the short Thanksgiving week, I thought we would touch on a few interesting stories developing over the last couple of weeks.
Photographer gets $1 million+ verdict from AFP and Getty for copied Twitpics
In my three part series on using images from the web for your news stories, we talked about the Morel v. Agence France-Press case. … Continue Reading

Regulating revenge porn and explicit online communications with children – easier said than done

Everyone supports the prevention of sexual predators texting illicit material to people under 17.  Everyone knows that revenge porn is a scourge on public decency.  But, can the law do anything about it?  Should it?
Texas Throws Out Law Banning Explicit Online Communications With Minors.
Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (our highest court that hears … Continue Reading

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 online defamation under the Communications Decency Act.
A judge and jury in Kentucky apparently have had enough.  This week, a jury … Continue Reading

Are The Legal Rules For User Generated Content Becoming More Nuanced?

The general legal advice to website operators who allowed User Generated Content (UGC) in the form of comments, videos or pictures used to be relatively easy.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protected you from copyright and Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act protected you from defamation and other liability.  Recent developments are bringing a … Continue Reading

Trends for 2013 in internet and marketing law

After looking at the most popular posts from 2012 in our last edition, today we look at what are likely going to be the big trends for 2013 in internet and marketing law.  
Privacy and COPPA – Although this issue is not likely to dominate the general business population, privacy and COPPA will continue to dominate the media’s … Continue Reading

Does the Communications Decency Act Protect Human Trafficking?

The State of Texas may find out and it may be more applicable to your site than you think.  In early filing for the 2013 legislative session, Democratic state Senator Leticia Van de Putte proposed a bill aimed at stopping at stopping human trafficking.  The entire text is here.
It allows for human trafficking victims to bring … Continue Reading

When your online rant can get you sued [Video]

In my last three posts, we covered online defamation from the business owner’s perspective.  Today, we look at it from the consumer’s perspective.
The local NBC affiliate in Houston interviewed me and others for a story about it you can watch here.
 
 
The way the story was edited, it almost appeared I support suing consumers when ”sounding off … Continue Reading

Contracting Your Way to Better Online Reviews – Is the Proactive Approach Legal?

Much to the chagrin of my law firm, I often encourage people not to take legal action when they are defamed on an online review site.  The issue has become more prevalent as consumers (or is it possibly competitors or people with personal vendettas) spew their ire negatively rating doctors and other professionals who only … Continue Reading

Can I sue the website for criminal acts of a user?

Match.com was sued last week because a male user sexually abused a female user on the second date.  Facebook and MySpace already warded off similar suits from parents of children who were stalked online based, at least in part, on Section 230 Communications Decency Act immunity.
These stories are indeed tragic, but it reminds me of the … Continue Reading