Q3 2009 Quick Links, Part 1

By Eric Goldman

My system of managing news items that don’t warrant a full blog post but can’t fit into a 140 character Twitter post has broken down. So, I’m belatedly catching up on my backlog of things that caught my attention in Q3 2009. This part focuses on online content issues:


* Ava v. NYP Holdings, Inc., 2009 WL 1885099 (N.Y.A.D. July 2, 2009). A NY Post story quoting part of the plaintiff’s MySpace page and characterizing it as a “fantasy” wasn’t defamatory.

* Terrific post by Paul Levy on Ripoff Report, InfomercialScams.com, Video Professor and UGC sites that go bad

* A tweet about moldy apartment leads to a defamation lawsuit. MLRC and CMLP coverage.

* Cohen v. Google, Inc., 2009 WL 2883410 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Aug. 17, 2009). Calling a woman a “skank,” in the context of a blog with photos and other critical material, was prima facie defamation sufficient to support a pre-action disclosure of the anonymous blogger’s identity.

* Cash4Gold sued Consumerist but then dropped it as a defendant.

* You may recall my earlier blog post on the Higher Balance lawsuit, a nice 230 defense win. Subsequently, the Higher Balance defendants were awarded over $50k in attorneys fees.

* Crookes v. Newton, 2009 BCCA 392 (Sept. 15, 2009). A British Columbia appellate court says that linking to defamatory content isn’t defamation.

* Joe Mullin: “Troll Tracker” blogger defamation lawsuit settles


* Larry Magid on the definitions of cyberbullying

* US v Voneida: 3d Circuit says student’s MySpace postings were “true threats” that supported 19 month sentence

* Smoking Gun: Placing a bogus Craigslist ad is being prosecuted as felony cyberbullying.

* News.com: A Missouri prosecution under Missouri’s new Megan Maier anti-cyberbullying aw.

Blogs and Social Networking Sites

* A New Jersey court says a blogger isn’t entitled to the reporter shield.

* Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, No. 06-5754 (D.N.J. June 16, 2009). Jury verdict against a restaurant owner that forced employees to allow it to view their private MySpace group.

* HB1314: Illinois bans sex offenders from using social networking sites. Evan Brown explores the statute’s constitutionality.

* Facebook Beacon is dead…and yet another privacy organization springs up in its wake. News.com, settlement agreement and motion for settlement.

* Public Citizen v. Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, 2009 WL 2390866 (E.D. La. Aug. 3, 2009). A federal court struck down Louisiana’s state bar rules restricting lawyer advertising via the Internet.