OT. Maybe META. How a cheerleader may change the internetz

Submitted by GoWings2008 on May 2nd, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Freedom of speech, lawyers, Google/Amazon/Facebook, MGoBlog...it may all be changing as we know it.  We could be witnessing history.  All because of a Bengals cheerleader, Sarah Jones.                                                                          Seems as though the defamation of her name case she won against TheDirty.com (alleging she had given the entire Bengals team STDs) is being appealed by the site owner, Nik Ritchie, citing the Communications Decency Act of 1996.                                                                               "Basically, their argument is that if a third-party such as a user is doing the harm, these outlets will be at the mercy of a "Heckler's Veto," forcing a drastic censorship of content."                                                                          So, get your comments in now while you can, folks.  We may all be censored anytime now.....aaannny time nowww....   LINK:  http://msn.foxsports.com/ohio/story/how-an-ex-bengals-cheerleader-could-affect-the-future-of-the-internet-050114



May 2nd, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

The first amendment, as I read this, is not implicated. It's a suit between two individuals. The 1st Amendment limits government, not individuals. I can sue you for what you say, and you can't raise a 1st Amendment defense. If the FCC sues you for what you broadcast, you may have a 1st Amendment defense, cuz it's the gubment.


May 2nd, 2014 at 12:26 PM ^

Not so....the 1st Amendment is in fact a defense from libel or slander and interpretation of the 1st and of defamation laws have gone hand in hand.

When you sue someone for defamation, you're essentially asking the government to shut someone up, so it's natural that the 1st Amendment is a defense.


May 2nd, 2014 at 3:14 PM ^

The First Amendment is much broader than what you can use as a defense against an individual. I can sue for libel or slander and if I show that the individual is saying something the individual knows is false, and is intentionally doing it to hurt me, then I win (basically, your mileage may vary, etc). If I am the government, and I know that the individual is saying something knowing it's false, and to hurt me as the government, I still lose. First Amendment is a defense in a civil, private case, as I understand it, only if the individual is suing to try and stop me from exercising a first amendment right, e.g., I don't like that someone put up a pro-Communist Party advertisement, and I sue saying it's a public nuisance. In that case, I'm basically trying to step into the shoes of the government.

There are, of course, exceptions to my 1st Amendment rights, e.g., yelling "Movie!" in a crowded firehouse, and I'm overgeneralizing, but my point stands. This is not a 1st Amend issue.




May 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 PM ^

I'm not interpreting.  The courts have used the First Amendment time and again in defamation cases.  The Supreme Court has cited it several times.  When Jerry Falwell sued Hustler for libel, Hustler said "First Amendment!" and eventually the Supreme Court said, "yup, First Amendment."  (It was a parody ad of Falwell.)  It's very, very common for someone accused of libel or slander to assert 1st Amendment rights.


May 2nd, 2014 at 12:15 PM ^

This has nothing to do with Google or anyone else.

This was not just some random user posting an anonymous slander. The owner of the site selected the slander to highlight it and comment on it. You cannot edit content for publishing purpose and then claim immunity from slander.

It would be like if Brian highlighted a thread that accused Denard of sexual assault with a comment that he is not surprised.

The operator of the site was an idiot and justly got punished for it.


May 2nd, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

Over at USA Today, there is a nice summary of Section 230 of the CDA - the full article is HERE, but I will quote them below:

"Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provides legal protections to operators of websites and other types of interactive computer services. It grants those services broad immunity from certain types of legal liability stemming from the content created by others. The immunity covers defamation and privacy claims, as well as negligence and other tort claims associated with publications."

It also says that the immunity is preserved even if content is edited so long as the meaning is not materially altered.