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$74k Judgment Against Craigslist Prankster

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the hope-it-was-worth-it dept.

The Courts 182

jamie points out an update in the case of Jason Fortuny, the Craigslist prankster who was sued last year for publicly posting responses to a fake personal ad. The Citizen Media Law Project's summary of his case now includes a recently entered default judgment (PDF), fining Fortuny "... in the amount of $35,001.00 in statutory damages for Count I, violation of the Copyright Act; $5,000 in compensatory damages for Count II, Public Disclosure of Private Facts, and Count III, Intrusion Upon Seclusion." He has also been ordered to pay more than $34,000 in attorney and court fees.

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182 comments

WHat?!?!? (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27626935)

"$5,000 in compensatory damages for Count II, Public Disclosure of Private Facts, and Count III, Intrusion Upon Seclusion."

These are actually real laws?!?!?

Re:WHat?!?!? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27626989)

"$5,000 in compensatory damages for Count II, Public Disclosure of Private Facts, and Count III, Intrusion Upon Seclusion."

These are actually real laws?!?!?

Yes. In fact you are not allowed to disclose publicly that your girlfriend has clamps even if half of the town knows this anyways.

There was a highest court decision in 1912 in Felderman vs. Proppenheimer, the so called "smelly labia" case (today it's called the "fishoil" case for PC reasons).

Parent is Hoax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627199)

I can find no evidence of this "fishoil" case. I think the parent post is pulling your leg.

Re:WHat?!?!? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27626993)

Yes. It's called invasion of privacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_laws_of_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Re:WHat?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627069)

but but but but there is no such thing as privacy in the US constitution!!!!

I fucking hate current politics in the United States right now. No one can keep their philosophies straight any more.

Re:WHat?!?!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627381)

It's not based on the Constitution.

It's a tort. It's common law. It can be changed by statute.

Re:WHat?!?!? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27626997)

Public Disclosure of Private Facts

Publication of non-newsworthy, private facts about an individual that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person (true defamation)(so intimate that outrage the public's sense of decency).

Intrusion Upon Seclusion

One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

I buy it. The guy posts a personal ad, then publicly posts the responses he gets. The responders had a reasonable expectation of privacy and it was violated in a most offensive manner. Seems like a lot of money, but maybe it will teach this douchebag a lesson.

Reasonable expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627067)

A reasonable expectation of privacy replying to a message in a public message board?

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627117)

how is it public? the responses are private

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627151)

Not when someone posts them online you fool! Did you even rtfs!? FTS:

Craigslist prankster who was sued last year for publicly posting responses to a fake personal ad.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (5, Insightful)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627181)

Again, though, a classified ads site is not the same thing as a web forum. If you replied in email to a person who posted an ad on the site, what would you expect to happen? Would you expect the person to post it publicly? No. That's what expectations are all about. It doesn't matter that he CAN post them publicly. If you follow your logic then there is no such thing as privacy. I could be having a "private" conversation with you, but be secretly recording it and then post it on the internet.

That's what we're talking about here, whether you can reasonably expect certain communications to be private or not. Personally, I would rather have the law say that there is such a thing as privacy than in your alternate universe where nothing is private.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (2, Interesting)

demeteloaf (865003) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628907)

My main issue with that is viewing this as a private person to person conversation. These are emails that are sent to a completely anonymous email address that the sender has no idea what's going to happen to them.

Say I make a craigslist ad that says, "Hey, I'm looking for sex, call me at +4790369389, and you call that number, and it goes to A loudspeaker that broadcasts your voice to the public [oddstrument.com]. You call that number and yell out that you're looking for sex, and here's your name and email. Am I now liable for broadcasting your public information to the world, or is that your own damn fault for not realizing what that number did.

So what if i make an email address that forwards your email verbatim to an email list? Is that the same, or do you expect more privacy from an anonymous email address than an anonymous phone number?

Look, I have no problem with expecting privacy on person to person conversations. However, I have a very hard time considering an email sent to a completely anonymous email address with which you have had no prior correspondence to be a private person to person conversation.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27629013)

I think most reasonable people have an expectation of privacy when responding to a classified ad; the fact that the number or email address is anonymous is irrelevant. I can only conclude that you are not a reasonable person.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627911)

Not when someone posts them online you fool! Did you even rtfs!? FTS:

It is the act of posting the private responses online that is a violation of seclusion.

Just because I send you a personal e-mail containing highly private contents doesn't give you any right to post it on slashdot's front page, on your web site, or on some random forum of your choosing.

If you do so, and the content is highly offensive or highly private, you may give me a cause of action to sue your ass and collect a large amount of money from you, in compensatory damages, and in punitive damages.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (2, Informative)

Guido von Guido (548827) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627187)

A reasonable expectation of privacy replying to a message in a public message board?

If I recall correctly, they responded to him in email.

Re:WHat?!?!? (4, Informative)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627147)

Yes, and rightfully so. A little Googling:

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/Press/faqs.aspx?id=14038& [firstamendmentcenter.org]

Generally, the material published must be private information that "is not of legitimate concern to the public." Its disclosure must also be "highly offensive to a reasonable person." ... The pressing question in public disclosure of private-facts cases is whether the information is newsworthy or of legitimate concern to the public. ... "The right to privacy does not prohibit any publication of matter which is of public or general interest."

http://epic.org/privacy/boyer/ [epic.org]

Intrusion Upon Seclusion. Intrusion upon seclusion occurs where there is an invasion, through conduct offensive to an ordinary person, of an individual's information in which she has a "reasonable expectation of privacy." Amy Boyer's estate argues that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy in her address and social security number, and that Docusearch's action in indiscriminately releasing this information was reasonably offensive.

So basically private information of yours that nobody has any right to should never be published openly unless you can show a public interest angle. That's totally reasonable in my book.

Re:WHat?!?!? (1, Interesting)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627859)

So basically private information of yours that nobody has any right to should never be published openly unless you can show a public interest angle. That's totally reasonable in my book.

So, these people felt nobody had any right to their private information. That's why they sent it to a complete stranger on the Internet.

Re:WHat?!?!? (2, Insightful)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628273)

So basically private information of yours that nobody has any right to should never be published openly unless you can show a public interest angle.

You can give your personal information to anyone you want but their rights to use it and redistribute it are limited.

Re:WHat?!?!? (4, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627541)

When these laws were passed, their may not have been any internet, web sites or forums, but there were newspapers, notice boards, newsletters, circulars and mailing lists, and telegraphs. An individual-to-individual communication is expected to remain exactly that, unless the person sending the information gives permission for the information to be made public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violation_of_privacy [wikipedia.org]

Re:WHat?!?!? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627861)

TO THE ATTENTION OF YOUR SILICITOR

Good day sirs. I hope that I find you well. I am Mr. GAMBO ADAMS. I am the one that contacted you from NIGERIA in the business of wishing to transfer you your country a fund of $30,000,000 ( THIRTY MILLION US DOLLARS), for which I was willing to alow you with a 20% transfer fee $1,500, 000 (ONE POINT 5 MILLION US DOLLARS). You reasponded with a promise to complete this transaction. But you only promised and promised for months and months! I did everything you asked, including of the pictures of me holding a sign with sayings on it. I have since realized you are a SPAM BATER! Also you have put all of our PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL communication on your webs site.

I am conacting you now on behalf of my silicitor that I will be courting you on VIOLATION OF THE COPYRIGHT ACT, PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF PRIVATE FACTS and INTRUSION UPON SECLUSION in the US courts, and searching for damages in the amount of $35,001.00 (THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND AND ONE US DOLLARS) and courst fees. Against the adversity of my silictor I am willing to settle in the amount of only $10,001.00 (TEN THOUSAND AND ONE USE DOLLARS) if you contact me IMIEDIATELY to deposit the amount in my account #3200-20032-20002 in the BANK OF NIGERIA. If you aggree to my generous proposal, please reply promptly.

Yours in friendship,

Mr. GAMBO ADAMS

in soviet russia (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27626939)

personal ad lists you

Thank goodness (5, Funny)

upto0013 (1144677) | more than 4 years ago | (#27626999)

Now I can send my naked pictures with no fear...

Re:Thank goodness (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627957)

Careful... they might be of public interest. upto0013 is a celebrity figure on a major geek news website: slashdot.

Although I would guess naked pictures probably pass the bar of 'offensive to a reasonable person'.

Also, it doesn't prevent people you send them to sending to someone else (necessarily), it's actionable if they _publish_ them for the public to see.

Re:Thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628159)

Now I can send my naked pictures with no fear...

Maybe on your part. O_o

Oh shit, but the rest of us are in terror! (3, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#27629347)

Naked pics of a slashdotter. Might just rip the internet straight from my wall and torch the local datacenter, just to be sure.

The title the next pop song sensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627021)

Intrusion upon seclusion.

Re:The title the next pop song sensation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627759)

Didnt the beastie boys already do this in 1885??

Pay attention, kids (5, Insightful)

localroger (258128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627049)

This is exactly what I thought would happen, a large civil judgement, as I predicted in the original linked /. thread. Repeat after me: I do not own the content of letters I receive.. Letters you are sent are exactly like books you buy; you can keep them forever and read them all you want and even loan them to your friends, but you cannot publish them. This is an entirely non-controversial no-brainer in legal circles, no matter how silly you think it is, and it's why the guy got slammed. The extra helping of privacy violation is just icing on the copyright cake, and of course he gets the bill for feeding the lawyers too.

Re:Pay attention, kids (5, Interesting)

toetagger (642315) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627163)

Good point, but where is the boundary between "sharing with your friends" and "publishing" these days? If I post those comments on Facebook, and allow everyone to see my profile, its publishing, but when I only share them with my friends, its OK? What if I let everyone in my network see it? Frankly, I'm almost a bit scared to "publish" something I don't own inadvertently...

Re:Pay attention, kids (2, Interesting)

localroger (258128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628067)

This is a good question, and it's one area where electronics really have created a new gray area. In the past publication required making physical copies, which involved a certain amount of effort, and even if you weren't getting paid one could infer from the expense you put out yourself that you were creating value that wasn't going to the original author. Nowadays I would expect a decision to hinge upon whether access was active or passive, how much effort went into it, and the number of recipients. Those numbers might all be different than they would be with paper, but you can bet the courts will get around to setting them. Meanwhile, my motto is better safe than sorry. I might republish an evil C&D letter mainly because, even though it's technically illegal, it would be almost impossible to get a judgement against me for doing it. But forwarding something that wasn't meant to be forwarded to more than a couple of people -- or to anybody if it's of the nature of what this fuckwad solicited -- could very well be on the wrong side of a line that's still not very clear.

Re:Pay attention, kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628445)

Copyright issues (and that is at least part of the problem with "sharing" such materials) come up, unsurprisingly, when copying. If something goes over the internet is it definitely getting copied.

Re:Pay attention, kids (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627191)

"Publishing", in the context of that law, means distribution for sale. I don't believe that's what the prankster did.

The real reason he was fined so heavily is because he didn't show up at court. Judges strongly dislike that behavior.

Re:Pay attention, kids (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627333)

"Publishing", in the context of that law, means distribution for sale. I don't believe that's what the prankster did.

[citation needed]

Re:Pay attention, kids (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627387)

"Publishing", in the context of that law, means distribution for sale

More like distribution OR sale.

It's pretty clear: you own the physical letter that was sent to you. You do NOT own the copyright. So, you are free to burn the letter, frame the letter, etc, but you can't sell or give away copies.

Re:Pay attention, kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628913)

"Publishing", in the context of that law, means distribution for sale.

Bullshit. get a dictionary and READ IT, you fucking idiot.

Re:Pay attention, kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627585)

I do not own the content of letters I receive

Yes I fucking well do

Re:Pay attention, kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627671)

I think you are missing the key aspects of the situation.

It is true, for example, that if you receive an advance galley of a novel for review via letter that you cannot start printing and selling it.

However, the copyright claims in this case are probably not going to stand up.

If the troll had choosen to defend himself in court (a better oportunity for trolling IRL cannot be immagined, I don't know why he didn't) and if he had lost, it probably would have hinged on the fact that he solicited these letters, under some sort of vague general social understanding of privacy, and then published them.

Well I'm Confused (2, Interesting)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627769)

Does this mean that people who get nasty cease-and-desist letters from lawyers are in the wrong for posting them publicly?

Re:Well I'm Confused (3, Funny)

funkatron (912521) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627879)

No not really. Anyone that does anything to piss a lawyer off is automatically right.

Re:Well I'm Confused (2, Insightful)

localroger (258128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628031)

Tedhnically they are, but it would be much harder to get an actual judgement against someone for doing that. Something like a C&D is regarded more like a public notice than a private letter, although there have been exceptions (the draconian gag order bound notices sent out by the NSA when it demands that you help them wiretap being a singular example).

Re:Well I'm Confused (1)

JAFSlashdotter (791771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628047)

Does this mean that people who get nasty cease-and-desist letters from lawyers are in the wrong for posting them publicly?

Well, I have no actual expertise here, but if we assume for a moment that the post from Nick Ives above [slashdot.org] with the little bit from the first amendment center is reasonably on target:

Generally, the material published must be private information that "is not of legitimate concern to the public." Its disclosure must also be "highly offensive to a reasonable person." ... The pressing question in public disclosure of private-facts cases is whether the information is newsworthy or of legitimate concern to the public. ... "The right to privacy does not prohibit any publication of matter which is of public or general interest."

I would think you'd at least have a decent shot at arguing that a cease-and-desist letter IS something of public or general interest. I don't know if the courts would agree with me, but I think the public has a right to know when the threat of civil or criminal prosecution is being used to coerce someone's actions. I don't know how you can bring the people (i.e. the courts) into your threat without making it the people's "concern".

Separate issue (1)

localroger (258128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628157)

The Nick Ives cite is about the "disclosure of private information" angle. That could have held up even if the coypright weren't an angle, and vice-versa. If I tell even one person, and it's the wrong person, about your jello and titties fetish I could have a problem with the first charge. But if you email me your perfectly innocent clown drawings I could safely show them to my friends, as long as my circle of friends isn't large enough to qualify as a "public." But even though they're not private information of yours I would not have the right to widely distribute them, either free or for money.

Re:Well I'm Confused (2, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628261)

I've had letters from lawyers pissed off that I published their C&D and demanding I take down the public copy of the original letter. I then publish the second letter too.

No, a C&D is a legal (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628459)

document, suitable for court presentation and you can share that with anyone you feel like.

Encyclopedia Dramatica?! How stupid can that be (1)

dm89 (1462073) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627139)

Should've posted them on 4chan. The Public Disclosure of Private Facts thingy has been done on /b/ more than once, but as far as I know nobody has been sued yet. Also, there would have been even more 'epic lulz', from doing it. Don't get me wrong though. I think he got what he deserved. He should be happy for not doing jail time.

No show == guilty? (5, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627145)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it was a Default Judgement [wikipedia.org], which means the plaintiff did not show. That is why he lost, not because there was a thorough review of the matter at hand.

Somehow I doubt this will be valid as a precedent in future lawsuits.

Re:No show == guilty? (4, Informative)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627283)

It sounds like it was the defendant who didn't show.

It also sounds like it was a civil trial, which doesn't go to a question of guilt, but of responsibility for damages.

But I only read the summary, so who knows?

-Peter

Re:No show == guilty? (1)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628429)

It sounds like it was the defendant who didn't show.

Correct, my mistake. Should have waited until I had my morning coffee before posting.

Re:No show == guilty? (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627323)

not showing up to your trial does not make you automatically guilty, but it does make it terribly difficult to defend yourself against accusation.

The court still goes through the same process to determine damages or guilt. The plaintiff still has to present a case and request damages/compensation. The court just doesn't get to see any defense, so it more or less means guilty unless the plaintiff's case has no merit even on their own evidence.

Re:No show == guilty? (4, Informative)

hob42 (41735) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627347)

Yeah, the initial default judgement was entered in November.

Status hearing held. Oral motion by Plaintiff's counsel for entry of default as to defendant is granted. It is hereby ordered that default is entered against Defendant, Jason Fortuny for failure appear or answer. Damages hearing is set for 1/7/2009 at 9:30AM.

A motion to dismiss was filed with the court in December, that was dated as written in October, but it was already too late by then. He didn't show up to the damages hearing either, thus the plaintiff got everything they asked for.

Lesson to be learned: If you have a court date, SHOW UP.

Re:No show == guilty? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628521)

The defendant is, "with all due respect", a fuckwit. He's still tooling around the internet, patting himself on the back for his "EPIC LULZ", with a small band of sycophantic followers.

Re:No show == guilty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628967)

  it is possible the person did not show up because

  THE PERSON WAS NOT PROPERLY SERVED SUMMONS.

    One day, one of you will try to buy a house and you will find out that you have a lien against you...and you will learn a hard lesson that someone sued you, won default judgment, and screwed over your life because they CAN.

  justice?

Re:No show == guilty? (4, Informative)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627621)

Default judgment occurs when a defendant fails to deliver some statement of defence (which procedurally occurs quite some time prior to trial, over the usual course). Failure to show for trial is a delinquency further to a failure to defend. In many jurisdictions you don't even have to give notice of a pending trial to a defendant noted in default.

As a construction (fiction) of law, a defendant noted in default is deemed to have admitted everything in the plaintiff's claim.

While it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, there is a general rule that if a defendant can show (1) that he didn't have notice, and (2) that he has a plausible defence on the merits, the default judgment may be set aside. The setting aside of default judgment may not result in rescission of the Judge's decision on costs (which are compensation for legal fees incurred), though that may depend on the manner and effectiveness of the notice of the plaintiff's claim.

When a plaintiff fails to participate properly the claim may be deemed abandoned.

YMMV by jurisdiction.

Re:No show == guilty? (2, Informative)

haystor (102186) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627793)

The key thing to note is that even with no opposition at all, the lawyers fees still amounted to half the judgement and they still probably take a portion of the rest.

They, of course, will get their money first I'm sure. So let's see who really won.

Default judgments are about revenge, not justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627827)

Default judgments are frighteningly common in civil cases, which is why people love to file them out of state. Most people cannot afford to travel, let alone litigate against them, and a default judgment can destroy you fiscally. It's subject to collections and credit ratings effects in most jurisdictions, so are used by corporations and individuals to enact "revenge" via them.

Re:No show == guilty? (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628089)

Even if it went to trial with a full defense, it would not be generate a precedential decision. To be a precedent, the case must be reviewed by a higher court and the opinion published. In my state, there are two levels above Superior Court (trial court): Court of Appeals and Supreme Court (names may be different in different states). All Supreme Court cases are published and thus become precedent. The Court of Appeals decides on a case by case basis which of its cases to formally publish. Formally published Ct. of Appeals cases are precedential for that court's district. In my state, it is considered a serious no-no to cite to an"unpublished" Ct. of Appeals decision in briefing.

It might be less confusing to call the unpublished decisions, "informal decisions", and the published decisions "formal", because all the decisions are available for public consumption. That's not the way it is though, so realize that "published" and "unpublished" have special meanings in this context.

Good (4, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627161)

Because the guy went entirely too far. If he had posted anonymous copies of comments they had sent etc then it probably would have been tolerable as an 'experiment'. However, he posted photos, names, emails etc. - which is fairly brutal when shared on the net

On the over hand though, regardless of the false pretense, these people gave their data to him, and took a calculated risk as to whether the ad was genuine or not. It's not as if the data was stolen or anything. So it's a bit iffy, but overall, I'd say a good judgement

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627439)

On the over hand though, regardless of the false pretense, these people gave their data to him, and took a calculated risk as to whether the ad was genuine or not. It's not as if the data was stolen or anything.

Not really, actually. If you go an actual date, for instance, and your date proceeds to kick you in the groin, nobody would argue that you took a calculated risk as to whether the offer to go on a date was genuine, either.

I agree it's a good judgement (although the amount seems a bit high); I just wish it'd been a "real" one, not just a default judgement because he didn't showup.

Re:Good (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627443)

If the guy promised to keep it anonymous, either through TOS or verbal agreement, then he breached the implied or express warranty of anonymity, and it is that breach he was sued for.

Of course, I have grunts of derision for the fact that he let the judgement default.

Re:Good (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627579)

So it's a bit iffy, but overall, I'd say a good judgement

There's nothing iffy about a default judgment. If you don't show up (or don't follow some other required procedure), you lose.

But I do agree with the rest of your post.

The Data Did Not Belong To Him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627709)

You need to read the posts above here. Intrusion Upon Seclusion. Intrusion upon seclusion occurs where there is an invasion, through conduct offensive to an ordinary person, of an individual's information in which she has a "reasonable expectation of privacy." Amy Boyer's estate argues that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy in her address and social security number, and that Docusearch's action in indiscriminately releasing this information was reasonably offensive. So basically private information of yours that nobody has any right to should never be published openly unless you can show a public interest angle. That's totally reasonable in my book.

Re:Good (1)

m_dob (639585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627731)

I feel enormously sorry for the kids of the guys involved, who may forever have that site appear when they Google their dads.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27629237)

I wasn't sure how I felt about this case (though the guy is a douche), till I thought what if he was posting a fake job ad instead? Would we feel the same if he was publicly posting and mocking the resumes he got in?

That said, I wonder how this would apply to people posting (for example) credit card offers from banks and using that to illustrate which banks have the most draconian terms...

Guess it doesn't surprise me (2, Interesting)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627217)

My freshman soc prof told us how _not_ to do research if we wanted to get published. I think the book was called the Lavender Tea Room if I remember. Guy hung out at public restrooms, took down license plates, got their address and then went door-to-door surveying. "Hello, sir. Wife? Kids? Occupation?" Discovered that a surprising number of regular family guys will stop by the restroom for a quick blow on the way to work. Sociologically interesting but no way that book was going to get distributed even without releasing subject names.

Re:Guess it doesn't surprise me (1)

Thugthrasher (935401) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627801)

Actually, I believe you mean Humphreys. Tea Room Trade is what the study was called. (I believe that was his dissertation) It was also published as a book under the same name, I believe, with some sort of subtitle that I don't remember.

Karma's a bitch. (4, Funny)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627361)

Good.

This little turd is only starting starting to get what he deserves.

Personally, I am impressed that the individual wronged took him to court. If I had his name and address, I would have probably been a lot less gentle. People have been taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet to get away with completely unacceptable behavior for too long.

Human beings are social creatures and the defective ones need to be corrected or weeded out.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627679)

Err, someone who does not subscribe to your moral view is not "defective".

Re:Karma's a bitch. (0, Troll)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627915)

You must be new here.

Let me elaborate.

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." This quote while attributed to Obi-Wan talking about Mos Eisley spaceport, in fact he was really talking about the internet. Now let me give you an example you can probably understand, say you're a woman, you go out and find the most seediest group of individuals who are strung out on more drugs then you can poke a stick at and most likely carry some form of firearm, and get so drunk you pass-out in their presence, next you wake up and find your purse missing as well as several articles of clothing. Obviously you should contact the law, but obviously your actions were absurd.

You don't respond to a personal ad on Craigslist with a picture and real information and certainly not from a real E-mail address. It is common sense. Human beings are sensible intelligent creatures and the defective ones who can't learn to be smart with their information need to be corrected or weeded out.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (4, Insightful)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628179)

So you feel that women deserve to be raped and mugged if they make poor decisions?

Thanks for the Star Wars quote. It really cleared things up for me. I now understand that you must have a lot of time to memorize movie lines while sitting at home alone after having alienated any potential dates with your offensive logic.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628381)

He did not state that they deserved to be raped, just the fact that the lady should have made better choices, as in, did she expect NOT to get raped by these seedy strung out drug taking firearm carrying people if she passed out drunk while in their presence?

So you feel the need to impose implied viewpoints that are derived from someone's post and then make ad hominem attacks against them? Good for you.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (0, Troll)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628599)

Reread my post...

I said it was common sense not to do things that would put yourself in danger. I also said the actions were absurd, I never once said that my hypothetical woman deserved what she got.

Don't worry about my love life, I would never date someone without the common sense to preserve their own life and sanctity. Keep in mind that attacking the person you are debating with is a common sign that you have already lost the debate.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (1)

ravrazor (69324) | more than 4 years ago | (#27629101)

Well then, do us a favor and never leave your house again, thereby avoiding the risk of being hit by a car, lightning, or a train. This is "common sense" that will keep you out of danger. Because if you got hit by a drunk driver, I'm sure you'd sue in civil court for damages just like these guys did.
That leads to the requisite car analogy:
Your expectation when leaving the house is that people will drive their cars on the road; walking on the sidewalk is safe, even though it's possible for someone to drive a car over many surfaces besides a road. When someone runs you over on the sidewalk, they've done you personal harm and you deserve compensation from them.

That's exactly what these people got.

I can't believe people are arguing this.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#27629219)

If these had been sent to a reputable company or someone with an actual name and face that they had met. Or perhaps even if they just had some assurance as to who this person was, sure I could understand your analogy. The problem is, this was Craigslist. I can sue if someone hits me on the sidewalk and likely win. I most likely can't sue if I get hit while trying to cross an inter-state highway.

Re:Karma's a bitch. (1, Troll)

Velex (120469) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628693)

So you feel that women deserve to be raped and mugged if they make poor decisions?

If I make poor decisions that I know will likely have certain consequences, do I deserve those consequences?

Re:Karma's a bitch. (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628311)

If I had his name and address, I would have probably been a lot less gentle.

Whatever, Internet Tough Guy. You probably would have stalked him for a while, then muttered some passive-aggressive bullshit when he passed by you in a coffee shop or something. And if he heard you on accident and called you out, you would probably shake your head really fast saying "no, no, no man..." in a higher-than-your-usual-pitched voice.

Can't say I have much sympathy (4, Insightful)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627463)

I can't say I sympathise with that bloke much. He posted an ad, and the people who responded to it did so under the assumption that it would be confidential. Not the smartest assumption, but a reasonable one nontheless.

Then, he posts the responses, including names. While this doesn't hurt him much, it can easily lead to great embarrassment and potential destruction of reputation for those men.

Regardless of what one thinks of the activities the guys thought they were responding to (sounded weird to me, but I'm a bit of a boring prude), the guy who posted people's identities is an asshat, and I can't say I feel much, or really any sympathy for him. He sounds like little more than an asshat.

On a related note, I hope the asses who post those "feel free to come and take all my stuff" ads on Craigslist, that result in people's houses being stripped down to nothingness, also get sued. Those who respond to them and steal the poor bastard's items, too.

what about the slam boards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627513)

where anonymous law and other prof school students regularly post humiliating comments about fellow students, potentially jeopardizing the targets' chances at landing good jobs or internships.

And of course the site owner chimes in "We are not responsible for the content of these posts." It's just business.

I think that practice is pretty disgusting, but not sure that these kinds of laws are the right way to address the situation.

Just an ED troll (1)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627593)

As a general rule, taking trolling into real life and then going 'LOL I TROLL U IRL' after you act like a jackass will get you hit by the real life equivalent of a ban.

There's a strange subculture that validates this kind of douchebaggery in the name of 'epic win', and I'm unsure if any of them are past the mental age of 15.

Trolls run for the hill! (1)

Meffan (469304) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627625)

4Chan's /b/tards must be lawyering up right now. Or posting image macros, one or the other.

Re:Trolls run for the hill! (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627961)

Pick the one that doesn't require an attention span longer than ten seconds. You could also go with whichever one doesn't require more than $3.25 (all they've got in the couch).

2 rookie mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627655)

First of all what he did was show just how nutty some people out there are. If you are stupid enough to give your name, picture, email address ect.. to a complete stranger over the internet on Craigslist no less..you deserve to be called out it.

2 Mistakes:
1. He could have performed this experiment completely anonymously and no one would have known he was behind it. Of course this probably goes to his personality of craving attention, his blog site sure shows him enjoying the attention.
2. I read over the PDF's of the court documents, had he gotten a lawyer I think this would have been dismissed.

Either way the dude is a loser, along with the 170+ people who responded to the ad. Does he deserve to get sued over what he did? Nah not in my book? Being a dick is an American right.

Re:2 rookie mistakes (0, Flamebait)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627833)

"Does he deserve to get sued over what he did?"

You sound like a child. There is no "deserving" when getting sued. People sue other people. Fortuny did something that this guy didn't like and the guy is doing something back.

Anyway, you're a fucking child. Grow up child.

Re:2 rookie mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628423)

I know what you are, but what am I?

So the question now is (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627819)

Why is the page and info still up on encyclopedia dramatica? Should it not be removed?

Re:So the question now is (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627881)

Try explaining that to ED. They posted it up there, they are the ones with the power to take it down. The admins of the site think they're both invincible and in the right, so I wonder if she/they'll be next.

Re:So the question now is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628059)

complaints to the webhost of ED, colo4dallas.com will get infringing content removed.

Exhibitionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27627943)

Obviously if he had a damn clue he would've also said he was an exhibitionist.

Totally fool-proof defense.

Except that it's not.

I want to sue as well! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#27627979)

I went to one of those sites that publishes information about my previous and current addresses and phone numbers and it really had my history down to the point I found it disturbing. These types of sites need to be closed.

Re:I want to sue as well! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628915)

I went to one of those sites that publishes information about my previous and current addresses and phone numbers and it really had my history down to the point I found it disturbing. These types of sites need to be closed.

Obviously, your previous and current address and phone numbers are vile and disgusting to a reasonable person.

But since you've published yourself that you have a 1-900 number and live in Dallas, well, I don't think you have much recourse.

Police Sting Operation (1)

Ken Broadfoot (3675) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628323)

Someone tell me why this is different than a police sting operation looking for johns or pedophiles?

The police never get in trouble for this exact behavior.

Perhaps the "perp" could call it a citizen sting operation.

Re:Police Sting Operation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628825)

A crime Vs no crime?
Answering an add is not a crime.

Here's The Ad/Responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27628597)

Here [encycloped...matica.com]. (Note: NSFW)

It looks like a pretty juvenile experiment. Nothing in there is really very defaming, or even interesting. I skimmed through about a dozen responses before closing the tab.

Now can someone explain why this is cause for so much outrage? I just don't see it. In fact, the media circulation and lawsuits seem to be the only things that drew attention to it.

WTF (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#27628847)

He has also been ordered to pay more than $34,000 in attorney and court fees.

34K on a default judgment? Default judgment means he lost because he never showed up. How did you spend this much against a guy who never showed up to defend himself?

Re:WTF (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#27629009)

You are so right. In fact, the next time that you have a court case, I suggest that you do absolutely no preparation for it whatsoever since, if the guy doesn't show up you'll save money on lawyers fees. <\sarcasm>

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