Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can Publishers be sued for user comments placed on their site?

This is a common question I get while speaking and consulting. Can Publishers be sued for user comments place on their site via forums and bulletin boards. The answer is Yes. Seek advice from a legal professional! My experience tells me this... you can be sued for anything. Period. Will you loose or win in court is the better question. The answer received a bit more clarity when the Middle District Court of Florida ruled this week that the federal Communications Decency Act protects site operators from liability for user comments. "The court finds that the mere fact that Xcentric provides categories from which a poster must make a selection in order to submit a report on the ... website is not sufficient to treat defendants as information content providers," wrote Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers division.”

Legal wins by publishers continue across the nation as site publishers embrace user generated content to drive traffic and give users a reason to return to their sites on a daily basis.
There is a quiet dance that must occur on magazine web sites between user generated content and publisher generated content. I talked about this a bit in a previous post about user generated video. Read that post here.

User generated content is critical to your sites success online, but “the mix” of this content and the content generated by your editorial team is the real point to focus upon. In some cases a sub site makes the most sense with some information that pulls back and forth between the sites. If your magazine deals with very exclusive and very expensive editorial content then user generated content will often take a back seat, but should not be forgotten. But, this is a bit of a different debate than if you should place user generated content online at all for fear of being sued. Consult a lawyer for legal advice, if you are asking for my opinion, from a internet perspective, user generated content is critical to your success online as it will drive traffic, increase revenue and give your site an overall fraternal feel that makes users feel comfortable on your site. When users feel comfortable on your site, they feel at ease with your magazine. This in turn, will drive them to subscribe to continue that “all in the family” feeling. Also, when users feel a part of your family, they are more open to receiving e-mail blasts and offers from you that also drive revenue.

Wendy Davis from Media Post posted the following online at Media Post that should set most publishers minds at ease to the end that in most cases the publishers win.

THE PUBLISHER OF ONLINE COMPLAINT site Ripoff Report has won a lawsuit filed by a Colorado company that took issue with users' posts about it tagged with labels like "con artists," "corrupt companies" and "false TV advertisements."
In the case, a federal district court in Florida late last week dismissed a defamation and trademark infringement complaint brought by Whitney Information Network, a company billing itself as offering education in real estate investing, against Xcentric Ventures, the Arizona company that runs and
The court ruled that the federal Communications Decency Act protects site operators from liability for user comments--even when the company behind the sites has created tags for commenters to use to classify their posts. "The court finds that the mere fact that Xcentric provides categories from which a poster must make a selection in order to submit a report on the ... website is not sufficient to treat defendants as information content providers," wrote Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers division.”
Whitney Information Network's in-house lawyer declined to comment on the matter, or state whether the company planned to appeal.
Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law and a well-known advocate for online publishers, said the case seemed "entirely consistent with existing precedent," even though the result--that tags created by publishers are treated as if they were user-created--might seem counterintuitive.
He said the court's rationale stems from the concept that "the Web site wrote those terms, but really they're given effect only when the users choose them."
The case raises the same legal issue as another pending lawsuit against roommate-matching site In that case, a fair housing group in California sued for civil rights violations on the theory that the site enabled discrimination by giving users questionnaires with choices like "I will not live with children," as well as options to indicate whether they're willing to live with straight roommates only, gay roommates only, and the like.
The 9th Circuit appellate court initially ruled last May that was not immune from liability under federal law on the theory that the site had collaborated with users to create the content. "By categorizing, channeling and limiting the distribution of users' profiles, Roommate provides an additional layer of information that it is 'responsible' at least 'in part' for creating or developing," a three-judge panel of the court wrote.
But the 9th Circuit later vacated that ruling and ordered re-argument, which it heard late last year. A host of other Web companies--including Amazon, Google and eBay--unsuccessfully attempted to file a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of, but the court rejected it in December, apparently because accepting it would have created a conflict of interest for one or more judges deciding the case.

The views of Ryan Dohrn are 100% personal in nature and do not represent the views of his employer, any other person, company or entity in any way. Any similarly is coincidental in nature. Please listen to Ryan’s audio version of this blog online at

By Ryan R. Dohrn ©2007


Anonymous said...

Hi !.
You re, I guess , probably curious to know how one can reach 2000 per day of income .
There is no need to invest much at first. You may commense earning with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with affiliates everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your chance That`s what you really need!

I feel good, I began to get income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to select a correct partner utilizes your funds in a right way - that`s AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and what I started with was a funny sum of 500 bucks!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend the top Script Deployment utility for a small IT service company like mine? Does anyone use or How do they compare to these guys I found recently: N-able N-central desktop management
? What is your best take in cost vs performance among those three? I need a good advice please... Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys!

I know some folks here who have gotten results with Male-Extra penis enhancement pills. Im just about to order as i've been hearing amazing results with it. But first off, I want to know if Male Extra does it work as good as they say it does?

I know 1-2 inches Penis growth is realistic and easily accomplished. But I'd like REAL FAST penis growth in the 5 inches range. Dont laugh, I want to have the best penis growth possible because my new girlfriend dated a friggin porn stud!

Guys here know what im talking about?

I make that I NEED to know the best way to enlarge Penis. Male-extra pills promises 3 inches growth within several weeks or they return your money. So I guess that essentially means, if my penis dont grow real fast? They lose money, coz I got to use the pills at the same time get my money back right?

Does this seem like a scam?

Please reply at the soonest possible time!
I need to make a decision fast!

Im already sold on it to be honest, but I just need that one last push so I dont put this off any longer.

The advertisement for the pill I last saw at this site. I hope its still there.

K guys thanks. Hope to hear your feedback alright? Bye :D

Anonymous said...


בית מלון [url=]כפר בעיר[/url] - אינטימיות, [url=]שקט[/url] . אנו מספקים שירותי אירוח מגוונים כמו כן יש במקום שירות חדרים הכולל [url=]ארוחות רומנטיות[/url] במחירים מיוחדים אשר יוגשו ישירות לחדרכם.

לפרטים נוספים אנא לפנות לאתר האינטרנט שלנו - [url=]כפר בעיר[/url] [url=][img][/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

Good day, sun shines!
There have were times of troubles when I didn't know about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright pessimistic person.
I have never imagined that there weren't any need in big initial investment.
Now, I feel good, I started take up real income.
It gets down to select a correct partner who uses your money in a right way - that is incorporate it in real deals, parts and divides the profit with me.

You can get interested, if there are such firms? I have to tell the truth, YES, there are. Please get to know about one of them: [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, in some moments I can reveal that I acquiesce in with you, but you may be inasmuch as other options.
to the article there is stationary a without question as you did in the fall efflux of this solicitation antivirus 10 mac ?
I noticed the catch-phrase you have not used. Or you functioning the black methods of helping of the resource. I possess a week and do necheg

Anonymous said...

Glad to greet you, ladies and gentlemen!

For sure you didn’t here about me yet,
my name is Nikolas.
Generally I’m a venturesome analyst. for a long time I’m keen on online-casino and poker.
Not long time ago I started my own blog, where I describe my virtual adventures.
Probably, it will be interesting for you to find out my particular opinion on famous gambling projects.
Please visit my web site. I’ll be glad would you find time to leave your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Men's contributions, on the other hand, get luckier by the day.. [url=]canada goose outlet[/url] The texture is wonderful seeming lean at first then expanding into a concentrated blend of dense wild berries, licorice and tar flavors. So let me set the record straight. Bieber isn't like his predecessors.
This was not the case in the game against theNew York JetsonMonday Night Football. [url=]canada goose[/url] The en .
[url=]canada goose[/url] His tight hold your hand, take you all over the world looked out, but not because of the hands sweat and release; is his comfort you need, when you rely on the shoulder, as you wipe the tears of hearts; is his When you're sad, think of ways to make you happy to see you returning to smile, and then innocently smiled. [url=]beats by dre shopping[/url]

Anonymous said...

Wiki. and needs to get rid of them. The most economical option tends to be purchasing from a "big box" home improvement store and having them perform the installation. An anonymous contributor to this site reported the following breeding birds in 2005: Mute Swan, 1 nest, 3 young; Canada Goose, 2 young; Moorhen, at least 5 young; Coot, 2 pairs, 6 young; Mallard, 3 pairs, 10 young; Grey Heron, 5 nests on rafts, 8 young; Kestrel, 2 young; Sparrowhawk, 2 young; Blue Tit, 3 young; Great Tit, 3 young; Wren, 1 young; Blackbird, 3 young; Robin, 2 young.
Created in 1956 by the merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada and the Canadian Congress of Labour, as of 1973 the Canadian Labour Congress had more than 1.75 million members (75 percent of the total trade-union membership in Canada). "There's hardly any single, decent straight men in Manhattan," McGuire added. [url=]canada goose sale[/url]
[url=]canada goose[/url] Beijing June 10, 2011 / PRNewswire-FirstCall / - Recently, the only private luxury membership invitation system selling websites christian louboutin sale storage center in Shenzhen after a rigorous preparation was put into early June 2011 use, as christian louboutin sale in the south of one of the important storage center, it is christian louboutin sale quickly to seize the southern market to provide strong back-up support. [url=]beats by dre online store[/url]

Anonymous said...

Normally, I cross the bridge and see mushrooms everywhere, not this year. [url=]Canada Goose[/url] use no more than 1.6 gal. Make sure it is something you can wear in your day to day life and possibly blends into your existing wardrobe. Expensive models available in specialty stores often come with better warranties, quality and service.
We get groceries and then enter the Park and drive to a small Bush Camp - Talamati. [url=]canada goose chilliwack bomber[/url] When my boys were little I oftened worried that when they saw me paying for a nice meal or buying clothes with a credit card, it might not occur to them that despite how simple buying with plastic might appear, it was really being paid for with my hard earned money.. [url=]canada goose for sale[/url]
[url=]canada goose chilliwack[/url] Which is the same thing they would have done if we1d made a feature film: they probably would have made a film about the Psy-Corp War, which you never saw in BABYLON 5--there were just references to it.'Early in her BABYLON 5 career, Christian had experimented with appearing at fan convention, and found she enjoyed the experience enough to continue, even after her departure from the show. [url=]are beats pro or studio better[/url]

Anonymous said...

After an 8 year run, the iconic Canadian Tire Guy has been retired, and none too soon in the eyes of many.. Furthermore, the people who have both NFLX and AMZN prime will over time switch to AMZN prime (once their content has been strengthened)2) Completely disagree. Zombies Renew Their Vows: Flint, Mich. You will need to go to your favorite department store, because your local Wal mart will not carry such a comforter.
(Unless if that clownfish is NEMO, which I doubt is the case with NFLX)However, if AMZN is successful in its bid to snatch some NFLX users with its new services, it will make NFLX a great takeover target for bigger companies looking for new revenue streams (read MSFT, AAPL, GOOG, etc). [url=]canada goose parka[/url] Put two business cards (one for the celebrity and the other for their representative) at the bottom and at the top of the package so that your contact details are easily visible.. [url=]canada goose parka sale[/url]
[url=]canada goose[/url] "Inaugurate (start off) a child in the opening (entrance) to the course (journey, way) of life,." That is, obviously, the parent's responsibility to "start off a child in the opening to the pathway of life." Parents are to engage in guiding the child through the preliminaries of the course of life, admitting throughout that they are just trying to learn where the course goes, at the same time as the child is. [url=]beats by dre salecom[/url]

Anonymous said...

It's easy to find good, long lasting makeup if you're willing to spend a little more than perhaps may be usual. [url=]Canada Goose[/url] I was searching for images andI found this. Okay, so, why is THAT his code name?. Whatever you do, do things with such excellence that people will be drawn to Jesus, he said..
In some cases, you may be able to claim that your painting is transformative, and not a derivative of the original. [url=]canada goose outlet[/url] The growing number of entrants into the retail arena has created enough space for the expert managers who can ensure the smooth running of the business in the coming days. [url=]canada goose sale[/url]
[url=]canada goose[/url] Christian Louboutin ShoesChristian Louboutin bootsJimmy Choo Shoesburo shoesChristian Louboutin shoesDior women shoesFD women shoesFL women shoesG women shoesJimmy Choo women shoesYves Saint Laurent women shoesdesigner buro shoesdiscount Christian Louboutin shoessale Dior women shoesfashion FD women shoesnew FL women shoescheap G women shoesonline Jimmy Choo women shoescheap Yves Saint Laurent women shoesOnline Sale Women Shoes in cheap pricedesigner buro shoes for salediscount Christian Louboutin shoes on salesale discount Dior women shoesfashion FD women shoes for salewholesale new FL women shoescheap G women shoes online saleonline Jimmy Choo women shoes for wholesalecheap Yves Saint Laurent women shoes for saleWomen BURO bootsChristian Louboutin Classic Black women shoesLouis Vuitton HandbagsPrada HandbagsChloe HandbagsFendi Handbagsdiscount Louis Vuitton Handbagscheap Prada Handbagsnew Chloe Handbagswholesale Fendi Handbagsdiscount Louis Vuitton Handbags for salecheap Prada Handbags at salenew Chloe Handbags for youwholesale Fendi Handbags online3.1 Phillip Lim HandbagsAlexander Wang HandbagsBalenciaga HandbagsBally HandbagsBottega Veneta HandbagsBurberry HandbagsChloe HandbagsChristian Dior HandbagsCoach HandbagsDolce Gabbana HandbagsFendi HandbagsGivenchy HandbagsGucci HandbagsGuess HandbagsHermes HandbagsJellyKelly HandbagsJimmy Choo HandbagsJuicy Couture Handbags [url=]beats by dre executive review[/url]

Anonymous said...

and Bernie Madoff's of the world who screw everybody else out of their hard earned investment and retirement money. [url=]vanessa bruno pas cher[/url] Fourteen Master Birder students came out on a chilly, overcast morning to the Chattahoochee Nature Center on 25 October. his Is men with huge muscles, therefore Already handbag bags, two his apparel and Thing healthypet net all is coffeecup sitemapper" This and natural cosmetics. our initial 6 million estimate," says Canaccord Genuity technology analyst Michael Walkley.
UseHockey skates actually glide over a thin film of water, which is created by the intense pressure of the skater's weight on the thin edges of the blade. [url=]canada goose[/url] On the other hand, sadly for the European Union, they have opted to cut back on their services through austerity measures.
[url=]canada goose on sale[/url] But it is necessary to keep the forage, but also to save their lives, how to do it?While the Captain hearts to consider how the choice of the time, a bow and arrow pierce the air with the shrill sound of the tip of Li, went straight to the Captain of the side door. [url=]beats by dre ireland price[/url]