Q3 2012 Quick Links, Part 4 (Facebook, Content Regulation)

By Eric Goldman and Jake McGowan


* Facebook settles “Friend Finder” lawsuit. Prior blog post.

* Two girls, ages 12 and 13, face felony for creating a fake Facebook account.

* Facebook says ‘Likes’ are Free Speech in Sheriff Case. The ACLU has filed a brief in support of the deputy fired for Liking his boss’s rival on Facebook. Prior blog post.

* Jackson v. Murray State University, 2012 WL 3644839 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 24, 2012):

Because the party was closed to the public, the Gamma Chapter’s house was not a place of public accommodation. The invitation for the party was only available to those who maintained Facebook accounts and expressly limited participation to those possessing MSU student IDs.

* Facebook v. Power Ventures, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111568 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 8, 2012). Power Ventures is running out of money. Prior blog post.

* J.H. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, 2012 WL 3041346 (Ind. App., Ct. July 26, 2012).  Department of Child Services isn’t obligated to try to contact parents through Facebook.

Content Regulation

* China is censoring efforts to organize groups, pornography, and criticisms of its censorship–but, surprisingly, not all criticisms of the government.

* Reuters: Google obeys Brazilian court order, blocks YouTube political video.

* Reuters: “Centuries-old theological disputes have broken out in cyberspace as religions aim to influence the future presentation of faith on the Internet.”

* Big settlement in online gambling prosecution. Reuters. NY Times.

* In re Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, No. 11-3257 (3d Cir. July 26, 2012)(cites omitted):

“The single publication rule advances the statute of limitations‘ policy of ensuring that defamation suits are brought within a specific time after the initial publication. Websites are constantly linked and updated. If each link or technical change were an act of republication, the statute of limitations would be retriggered endlessly and its effectiveness essentially eliminated. A publisher would remain subject to suit for statements made many years prior, and ultimately could be sued repeatedly for a single tortious act the prohibition of which was the genesis of the single publication rule. Additionally, under traditional principles of republication, a mere reference to an article, regardless how favorable it is as long as it does not restate the defamatory material, does not republish the material. These traditional principles are as applicable to Internet publication as traditional publication, if not more so. Publishing a favorable reference with a link on the Internet is significantly easier. Taken together, though a link and reference may bring readers‘ attention to the existence of an article, they do not republish the article.”

* Fee award in Shrader v. Biddinger, 2012 WL 2411969 (D.Colo. 2012), the case applying 47 USC 230 to emailed links. Prior blog post.

* North Carolina bans students “cyberbullying” school employees. A good example of a law that will not age well.

* Doe v. Hofstetter, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82320 (D. Colo. June 13, 2012). Defendant created attack blogs and Twitter accounts towards a married couple, including posting intimate photos. The court finds the defendant’s actions constituted intentional infliction of emotional distress and public disclosure of private facts.

* Sarah Jones pled guilty to sleeping with her student but is still suing thedirty.com for defamation for allegedly being called “a freak in the sack.” Prior blog post.

* Seldon v. Magedson, 2012 WL 4475020 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2012). Ripoff Report wins another lawsuit, this time on jurisdictional grounds. The magistrate report, also addressing 47 USC 230. Seldon v. Magedson, 2012 WL 4475274 (S.D.N.Y. July 10, 2012).

* Eric Robinson’s coverage of Johns-Byrne v. TechnoBuffalo, holding that a blog qualifies for Illinois’ reporter shield law. Eric Johnson’s coverage.

* Appeal in Seaton v. TripAdvisor. Prior blog post.

* Ann Marie Marciarille, “How’s My Doctoring?” Patient Feedback’s Role in Assessing Physical Quality, 14 DePaul J. Health Care L. 361 (2012).

* State v. McIntyre, 2012 WL 3727319 (Or. Ct. App. Aug. 29, 2012): Oregon appeals court says in a case where defendant was charged with prostitution that YouTube rap videos in which defendant extolled the virtues of prostitution generally were not admissible due to the lack of factual similarity to the offense with which defendant was charged. The state did not show, as required under the Oregon rules of evidence, that the victims were the same or similar, or the physical elements of the prior acts were similar to the charged acts.

* Wikipedia offers to pay the legal defense costs incurred by its contributors.

* Village Voice and Backpage.com are separating. Will Backpage.com have enough standalone muscle to weather the legal attacks? Prior blog post.