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Old 08-27-2005, 09:09 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Are we liable for comments by our readers?

Imagine getting sued by a company over comments other people have made on your website. Scary? It just happened to SEO Book author Aaron Wall: If you boil it down to its essence, the plaintiff is claiming damages of $10,000 and irreparable harm due to comments that other people left on Aaron's blog.

Although I think Mobileread is doing a good job moderating inappropriate content, however this case may turn out, it's not clear what liability we're exposing ourselves to.
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Old 08-27-2005, 11:38 AM   #2
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My own *personal* opinion is that the sueing company is out of their mind. I can see it easilly as something for which the web community *might* pull together and be able to apply a LOT of pressure against that company for being stupid.

If someone posts illegal information on a website, regardless of where, you go after that PERSON! It's like me sueing McDonalds because I put their HOT coffee between my legs and as I'm going through the drive through, I squeeze. The end result, aside of not being able to reproduce for a while, is something that is MY OWN FAULT. Not McDonalds. /shrug/

It's a concept of responsibility, and I dont' see that company as taking it very seriously or very well. Again, as a PERSONAL comment, I think that the company should be sueing to get the identity information on the classified JOHN DOEs instead, and then going after each of them in court. But that's me.

Regardless of whatever I think, several people have it pegged correctly that this will indeed set a very serious and important tone for bloggers everywhere. I disagree that it's only something that business bloggers should pay attention to, because a blogger is a blogger is a blogger and this rulling will apply to ALL BLOGGERS. That is the scope, and the danger, for the bloggers.
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Old 08-27-2005, 02:19 PM   #3
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Here is the original source and the person who is being sued:

http://www.seobook.com/archives/001130.shtml

The real kicker is that the comments in question are over one year old!
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Old 08-27-2005, 04:12 PM   #4
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I really can't think of anything to say. The stupidity of some people/corporations seems to be only outweighed by their endless greed. First, suing over old, old comments. Seems kinda stupid. Second, suing the blog owner for... What exactly? The comments weren't made by him. So they're suing him for owning a website where people can... Do what exactly? Reading the post TadW pointed to, they don't seem to be suing him for anything in particular.

I don't know, but if this same mentality is extended to web forums, IRC networks, and so on, then a lot of people could be having a lot of problems...

One thing I don't see on SEO Book (the website of the person being sued) is any sort of note about comments being the responsibility of whomever posted them (or something along those lines)... Any idea on whether such a notice might have helped either avoid a lawsuit, or at least make it more pointed a lawsuit? I don't know how much those type of notes actually 'count' in the eyes of a greedy corporation... But maybe it would count for something.
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Old 08-27-2005, 05:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos
...One thing I don't see on SEO Book (the website of the person being sued) is any sort of note about comments being the responsibility of whomever posted them (or something along those lines)... Any idea on whether such a notice might have helped either avoid a lawsuit, or at least make it more pointed a lawsuit? I don't know how much those type of notes actually 'count' in the eyes of a greedy corporation... But maybe it would count for something.
Good idea. Perhaps something for MR to consider as well.
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