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Court Rules Website Immune From Suit For Defamatory Posting

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the people-say-the-craziest-things dept.

The Courts 171

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "RipoffReport.com contained an admittedly defamatory posting, by one of its users, about a person who operated a Florida corporation providing addiction treatment services. Although the site was asked by the poster herself to remove the post, it refused. A Florida appeals court has ruled that the site is absolutely immune from suit (pdf), and cannot even be directed to remove the offending post, since under the Communications Decency Act (47 USC 230) 'no cause of action may be brought' against a provider of an "interactive computer service" based upon information provided by a 3rd party."

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But if was copyrighter material (5, Insightful)

Esben (553245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533814)

hell breaks loose

Re:But if was copyrighter material (4, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534002)

unfortunately they already thought of that section 230.e.2 says "Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or expand any law pertaining to intellectual property."

Slashdot / Scientology (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534292)

Does that mean that Slashdot doesn't have to bend over and take it in the rear from Scientology anymore? That happened a few years back I believe. Only comment ever removed.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534382)

I would love to read the original posting, since "addiction treatment services" + "Florida" equals in my mind "Narconon", which is the Church of Scientology's pseudo-scientific drug "treatment" "tech". I won't say what I think of this "tech", but I believe the quotes are enough to convey my feelings...

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (3, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534620)

I think it might be this one [ripoffreport.com] The decision pdf lists G & G Addiction Treatment LLC, but I could find no reports are found for that name. Also it say the post was in July, 2009. There are two for G & G Holistics Addiction Treatment Center in Florida. PDF states the poster claimed owner was a felon and this post does that but is dated May 2009.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534668)

Why not? There has been authority after authority that have denounced it as doing more harm than good.
They prescribe overdoses of Niacin which means in Canada the College of Physicians Quebec will sanction any physician who associates with Narconion Trois-Rivieres, even to the point of a Review Committee investigating that physician, which would result in ramifications such as fines or licence suspension.

The Narconon 4 step program:
1. victim is drawn by falsely advertised success rate
2. victim is charged outrageous fees
3. perpetrator cracks open victim's skull
4. perpetrator messes with victim's brain, replacing the victim's personalty with a cult personality

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535324)

If 3. ain't happening then the victim deserves everything.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535742)

You forgot:

5. falsely claim in court that the treatment is "religious" in nature to get around all rules/laws regarding prescribing drugs in overdose without a medical license and making proven false medical claims.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536916)

In Britain it is a CULT. Scientology is not a religion, it is a cult. Followed by absolute retards.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536268)

The sad part is how many don't actually know that Narconon is CoS, Hey Anon? THAT is what you need to be spreading the word about okay? We used to have a local judge that would sentence people to Narconon until I waited outside his courtroom (it helped that my family knows his family) and I told him "Judge you DO realize you are giving money to the church of Scientology, right?" being church of Christ needless to say he was NOT happy about that news, but he had honestly thought it was just a drug version of AA.

So if there is ANY good that could come from the Anons i'd say it was this: PLEASE use your podium to spread the word that Narconon is NOT AA, okay? You've gotten enough press that you can get the word out and if you did we might get judges across the country to stop sentencing people to them thinking its an offshoot of AA.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536760)

And here I was thinking that Narcanon was actually the Drug Enforcement Wing of Anonymous (read: /b/tards on drugs).

The sad part is worse than you think (4, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38537172)

"The sad part is ...

Actually, judges are violating the principle of the separation of church and state as well as the principles of AA when they sentence people to go to AA. Addiction, including addiction to the drug we call Alcohol [wikipedia.org] is recognized by the AMA as a disease [wikipedia.org] , and when a judge orders a specific treatment he is in effect acting as though he has the right to prescribe a treatment.

If he recommends AA I don't see a problem with that, but if he prescribes it as a matter of law he has effectively forced a person to seek a treatment for a disease which, in all reality, does not work for everyone regardless of the hype within the AA community claiming that it does. Indeed, no treatment for any disease works for everyone.

Re:Slashdot / Scientology (1)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38537116)

If Scientology weren't above the law.... someone needs to outlaw OT powers!

I Just Can't Belive It (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534166)

Although the site was asked by the poster herself

Wow. I mean ... it's almost as if some hyper-emotional female was spreading rumors and causing drama and regretted it only when it finally caused real trouble.

We all know this never, ever happens. Women are never petty and catty, they are always calm and rational and in control of the feelings they value so much, and above all they always take their problems directly to the party with which they have a dispute and would never do something childish like gossip behind their backs.

Glad that's settled.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (2, Funny)

Catskul (323619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534616)

I really don't understand why this has been moderated as funny. I was under the impression that the Slashdot crowd was more high brow than angsty teen woman bashing.

Apparently not? At least the fool was wise enough to do it anonymously.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534808)

Bashing would imply false information simply meant to insult. Which bit of data do you find not factual?

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536872)

Bashing would imply false information simply meant to insult. Which bit of data do you find not factual?

Apart from the meaning of "bashing"? Uh - your whole story.

Nice certificate fact basher [flickr.com] . You [ripoffreport.com] have a very distinctive writing/ranting style

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534902)

I really don't understand why this has been moderated as funny. I was under the impression that the Slashdot crowd was more high brow than angsty teen woman bashing.

Apparently not? At least the fool was wise enough to do it anonymously.

WOW. You must REALLY be new here. AND have no sense of humour. AND have issues with males.

Well it's actually satire in this case, since the stereotype has been earnt by some groups of women - typical interaction in an all female group does tend towards gossip (just as all male groups tend towards macho competition and violence). Respecting the other sex does not require that we ignore the truth.

I'm so "high brow" [sic]... (0)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535754)

...that just reading your post made me want to mod parent up.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534738)

Wul, now, maybe a clever lawyer could convince a judge that since the digital medium is user editable ,then we can presume freedom of speech is therefore editable and an interactive computer service has no business barring the freedom of editable speech. This being necessary to the universally understood natural condition of women, to change their mind at their prerogative and to lose composure during menstrual , premenstrual and just about any other time the notion crosses their mind.

Besides with a 'tude like that, you "ain't gettin' no leg, no how, Sheldon.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534942)

Unfortunately, it's someone else that had to pay for her behavior. I am the victim of something similar. In fact, on RipOffReports (a blackmail site, frankly). Some random girl online started telling everyone that we were dating. Then that she was my girlfriend. Then, that we were engaged. I didn't know this girl. I mean, I had seen her name around, but I'd never talked to her. I'd never met her. I think she was the friend of a friend of a friend. Somehow, she was in the mix of a huge circle of people who knew each other vaguely and that was about it. Anyway, I found out all this psychotic stuff she was floating out there about how we were in a relationship. When I told everyone that not only was all this bullshit, but that I didn't even know her, she went batshit and posted about me on this site. Keep in mind - I don't have a business or do any sort of business. This was all personal (and, again, I didn't know her).

Anyway, so there is now a page from a random stranger on a website that purports to be about consumer advocacy and there's nothing I can do about it. Her long rambling diatribe posts a ton of personal information about me and tells this tale of how we went out and I accosted her and stalked her and then stole a bunch of her stuff. Again, I don't know this person. Had never talked to this person. I don't even know what state they're in. For that matter, I don't know that they're even in the same country.

So, my personal information and a bunch of psychotic bullshit about me is posted in public for anyone to find. Google puts it up at the top of search results for my name (because google seems to promote the RipOffReport ranking). She, on the other hand, is anonymous. I don't know her. The website dosn't know her. She is just an anonymous invented username. There is no recourse for me. Period.

This site is just a tool to facilitate the owner's extortion scheme and the anonymous posters' vendettas.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (5, Interesting)

echostorm (865318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535834)

lies. post the ripoff report, and let us see this 'damaging' info. You can contact the administrator at EDitor@ripoffreport.com and it will be removed if it is obviously just some scary firebrand spamming bullshit. sounds like you have evidence.

Kindof hard to feel bad for you without any evidence, or knowledge of what steps you took to exonerate yourself. This is no different from receiving a summons in the mail. you can't just ignore it and expect it to go away. If the case is interesting enough, it will be picked up by the press and distributed across the globe. If you do nothing, than the information will continue to circulate without check. Stepping in now will at least stem the tide of false info.

If you emailed the editor with 'omg lol so sorry neva hit tha biznitch shes a hater' then of course hes going to ignore your email. Without some sort of idea of what happened, you will get no sympathy from anyone.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535982)

Yes, there is something you can do. You may sue her for libel. The post may not be removed, but you can:

  - Get money from her
  - Get restraining orders against her
  - Eventually get her in jail when she violates the above
  - Ask ripoff report (or any other sites she posted to) to post a copy of the restraining order and court judgements you have against her

That's about enough, if you ask me. Anyone reading those diatribes probably already thinks she's crazy. They'll know it when a judge supports you on it.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536064)

If there is a lot of personal information about you, and if that information is true (it appears to be - otherwise easy enough to say "that's not me, that's another person called AC"), the person writing that must know you quite well. Otherwise they don't have this information, nor will they go to such great lengths defaming you.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536224)

That depends. I've been very public on internet forums and websites for years. Most of my profiles are intentionally wide open so the general public can read my opinions without me ever having to give them permission to do so. I think you'll find many Slashdotters and techies have the same disdain for what most people think of as "privacy." We'd rather argue our points with the public and hope to win over a few hearts and minds to our way of thinking than worry about whether someone might get an understanding of who we are.

I never have seen how you could possibly work to influence society and government without people knowing who you are. If no one knows who you are, what audience are you reaching? How can you hope to influence any changes without an audience?

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536372)

Your average politician doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it. Same for many journalists. I know many names, even faces of those that are on TV or with photo in the paper often, but for most of them I don't know where they live, whether they're married or not, what car they drive, etc. That info may be available for those that actively search for it, but it's not posted with their opinions or so.

Posting your opinion about issues is one thing; posting all other personal information all over the place is another thing. Point in case: how much do you know about newyorkcountrylawyer? Well his real name (Ray Beckerman), information about his law firm (see web site), law specialties. That's important, and gives weight to his opinions on copyright law related issues. He probably lives in New York or not far from there. That we know. For the rest we don't know much. Is he married? Children? Previous relations/girlfriends/boyfriends? Crazy escapades while in college? Home telephone number? Car? We don't know. Do you care you don't know? Does that make you "know" him any more or less? Does it make his opinions less important?

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38537380)

I think you'll find many Slashdotters and techies have the same disdain for what most people think of as "privacy."

I must have entered a parallel universe, where most people don't use Facebook and Slashdot isn't constantly posting stories abut privacy violations.

Are you telling me in the universe most people actually value privacy? Because that'd be great!

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536190)

I didn't know this girl. I mean, I had seen her name around

She, on the other hand, is anonymous. I don't know her. The website dosn't know her. She is just an anonymous invented username.

So... which is it? Which part of this did you make up? :P

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38537178)

"So, my personal information and a bunch of psychotic bullshit about me is posted in public for anyone to find."

We call this phenomenon "The Internet" ;-) Alas, the world is full of fools who believe that if they read it on the interwebz it must be true. There is no solution to this problem, because you can't fix stupid [youtube.com] .

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38537202)

Wow, shades of flashbacks,batman!
Back in 1980 B.P.I (before public internet) I had a similar stalker. The new girl in school.Dressed like an old person,had a mild speech impediment and nearly daily epileptic seizures. I merely tried to be kind, the next thing I know she's spouting off how I'm her boyfriend. Follows me like a puppy, calls my house 5 times a day and starts talking about "when we get married". Pretty weird to a sophomore in high school.
            Finally, about a couple months into the school year, I couldn't take it anymore. She was cooking up her usual kettle of crap in an art class we shared. Overhearing her, I stood up and shouted across the room " I'm not your boyfriend, I was never your boyfriend, I'm never gonna be your boyfriend,get the hell over it!"
        The next thing I knew a heavy duty Exacto knife, the kind with the screwdriver handle, smacked the guy beside me in the head,handle first and stuck in the floor beside us. Mary Kay began bounding over desktops towards me only to be tackled halfway across the room by her uncle.(also in the art class with us)
        Well, the sheriff came, packed her ass off to the balloon farm and thats the last I saw of Mary Kay.
                Yeah, there's a load of nuts out there and no right way to handle it. I still look back and wonder, what If I'd told her to screw off earlier, what if I just went with it and f**ked her or talked her into a train for my friends and I (you'd be surprised how many girls went for it as long as everyone promised not to tell, and we didn't)
I sincerely hope she got the help she needed , here in a state that uses the hell outa EST (thats shock thereapy not extra sensitivity training). At least it wasn't Missouri, they still do lobotomy, or did back then.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535170)

How the fuck is this modded so highly as "funny"

Your comment is less funny than the disgusting stories that sometimes get first posted, and way more intellectually insulting. Men do the exact fucking thing.

And no one dare say "welcome to the Internet". That's no excuse to be a dick. I'm very sure you knew how insulting your post would be since you posted it as a literal anonymous coward. This doesn't only happen on the Internet. People see this shit and regurgitate it in every context, and I'm guessing you will never know what it's like.

I'm an intellectual female, and I read /. for the comments. I always expect way better than this here. After reading TFS (well, headline), and scrolling down, this isn't the shit I want to see. I already have to deal with it everywhere else, so fuck you for bringing this into one of the most civilized sites I've come across, and fuck everyone who honestly thought this was funny enough to mod up.

It's pretty evident you have no idea what it's like to be a woman in a tech field. How many times I've been ignored, only for someone with a penis to say the exact same thing and get credit. How many times I've lost opportunities because I have tits.

So stop insulting us, and get back to making car analogies and welcoming new overlords.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535240)

So? I've got tits too, but the only jobs it has lost me are soldier or male model.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535610)

Perhaps slutty ultimatums such as you should stop being so easily offended.

And no one dare say "welcome to the Internet".

Welcome to the planet Earth, where different people have different opinions and attitudes. You might not find his post funny, but humor is completely subjective.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535634)

Excellent. Got modded down by the time I hit submit!

Yay /.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (4, Informative)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536428)

blah...blah...blah...I'm an intellectual female, and blah...blah...blah

LOL!!! is this some kind of joke?? what kind of sane person says 'i am an intellectual'? this sort of behavior actually says you're a dumb idiot or a troll (and i need a nice whooshing).

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536606)

It's pretty evident you have no idea what it's like to be a woman in a tech field. How many times I've been ignored, only for someone with a penis to say the exact same thing and get credit. How many times I've lost opportunities because I have tits.

Its not really that you are a woman and its not that you don't have a penis and its certainly not because you have tits. It is entirely because of your attitude. You were not pushy or lucky enough and the guy who said the exact same thing? He was.. you see, that happens to other folk too, folk with penises included.. but they probably don't have the chip on their shoulder that says its because they have tits. You might notice sometime that men can be more agressive, more forceful when they are pushing opinions.. its most likely that.

Also, having tits gained you opportunities many times.. but maybe you didn't notice those times? As a guy without tits, I do notice when women get priority treatment because other guys would rather deal with them than me.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536780)

How the fuck is this modded so highly as "funny"

Your comment is less funny than the disgusting stories that sometimes get first posted, and way more intellectually insulting. Men do the exact fucking thing.

And no one dare say "welcome to the Internet". That's no excuse to be a dick. I'm very sure you knew how insulting your post would be since you posted it as a literal anonymous coward. This doesn't only happen on the Internet. People see this shit and regurgitate it in every context, and I'm guessing you will never know what it's like.

I'm an intellectual female, and I read /. for the comments. I always expect way better than this here. After reading TFS (well, headline), and scrolling down, this isn't the shit I want to see. I already have to deal with it everywhere else, so fuck you for bringing this into one of the most civilized sites I've come across, and fuck everyone who honestly thought this was funny enough to mod up.

It's pretty evident you have no idea what it's like to be a woman in a tech field. How many times I've been ignored, only for someone with a penis to say the exact same thing and get credit. How many times I've lost opportunities because I have tits.

So stop insulting us, and get back to making car analogies and welcoming new overlords.

Welcome to the Internet, you brainy broad.

Re:I Just Can't Belive It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536842)

Women are never petty and catty, they are always calm and rational and in control of the feelings they value so much, and above all they always take their problems directly to the party with which they have a dispute and would never do something childish like gossip behind their backs.

Soooo - you're a messed up woman pretending to be a bloke who's badmouthing women because he's got a micropenis in order to give micropenised men a bad image... or you're just a fuckwit women only want to fuck with a steamroller. I'm guessing the latter.

Re:But if was copyrighter material (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536052)

Everything is copyrighted. Including your comment, and this comment.

Legal precedence? (0)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533838)

"'no cause of action may be brought' against a provider of an "interactive computer service" based upon information provided by a 3rd party."

So... This here is called legal precedence, right? Oh if only RightHeaven was still around! Luckily we'll still have the SOPA clowns...

Re:Legal precedence? (1)

wmelnick (411371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533902)

No, lower courts do not set legal precedent.

Re:Legal precedence? (1)

wmelnick (411371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533920)

oops - deleted the second half as I posted... This is an appeals court for Florida so the precedent here is only for that portion of Florida that the appeals court covers, or maybe even all of FLorida, but to the rest of the country it means nothing at all.

Re:Legal precedence? (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534074)

oops - deleted the second half as I posted... This is an appeals court for Florida so the precedent here is only for that portion of Florida that the appeals court covers, or maybe even all of FLorida, but to the rest of the country it means nothing at all.

Well, its only binding precedent on lower courts in Florida. Anywhere else, its merely persuasive precedent, which can be considerably more significant than "nothing at all".

Re:Legal precedence? (4, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534064)

If you read the PDF, they actually cite similar cases which had already been decided by the Florida supreme court. So it appears that the precedent has already been set, if only in that one state.

Re:Legal precedence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534100)

Can you imagine what would happen if other states followed the lead Florida has set? We'd have Medicare-scamming crooks for governor. We'd be unable to figure out how many voters picked who for President! We'd vote for something, then vote against it! And a Mouse would take over the country!

Re:Legal precedence? (4, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534496)

No, lower courts do not set legal precedent.

No, lower courts do not set binding precedents, which other courts are obligated to follow. However, they do set persuasive precedents, which other courts may choose to follow. They may also produce better explanations of legal doctrines than higher courts, and thus also be worth quoting even when the controlling precedent is from another case, which might merely be cited.

You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533852)

Although the site was asked by the poster herself to remove the post, it refused

Sounds like she's learned a hard lesson in "think before you speak".

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (3, Interesting)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534118)

Although the site was asked by the poster herself to remove the post, it refused

Sounds like she's learned a hard lesson in "think before you speak".

Ech. Have you ever read anything that passes for a "review" on RipOffReport.com? I don't think anyone has ever "thought before they spoke" in that place, if the rampant abuse that the English language takes in most of those reviews.

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534294)

Although the site was asked by the poster herself to remove the post, it refused

Sounds like she's learned a hard lesson in "think before you speak".

Ech. Have you ever read anything that passes for a "review" on RipOffReport.com? I don't think anyone has ever "thought before they spoke" in that place, if the rampant abuse that the English language takes in most of those reviews.

Cue the limp-wristed idiots who parrot that meme "but but languages evolve over time so this should always be acceptable!"

I wish they'd just come out and say "we hate that you have standards not because we think standards are a bad idea but because our low intelligence, or intellectual laziness, or inability to value anything not required of us means we wouldn't measure up to them! That might make us feel insecure and uncomfortable and we'd rather deal with that by lowering the standards everywhere than by making the slightest effort to improve." It would be so much more honest than all of these bullshit excuses for why educated people with no organic brain damage can't handle their own native language.

I mean fuck ... do we have to pussify everything? "Languages evolve" so no one should ever be called out on their falure to handle language. Soccer games shouldn't keep score because the loser might get their feelings hurt. Stop coddling people, please. Most people are passive sheep who won't reach for worthy things on their own. They need to have a fire lit under their flabby asses before they will get off said flabby asses. The pain of failure and the humiliation of defeat are the standard, time-tested ways of igniting one. You really have no idea how many babies you are throwing out with the bathwater in your quest to make sure everyone always has narcissistic levels of self-esteem regardless of merit.

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534424)

Your post contains a few mistakes. That clearly makes you a hypocrite! Therefore, your arguments are dismissed.

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534458)

Cue the limp-wristed idiots who parrot that meme "but but languages evolve over time so this should always be acceptable!" [...] I mean fuck ... do we have to pussify everything?

Looks like the limp-wristed idiots have the day off; in their absence, the sexually insecure meatheads will have to fill in with some hastily constructed straw men. Can you elaborate further about your fear that anything remotely feminine will dilute your precious bodily fluids?

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535072)

Being able to speak/write properly and languages evolving are not mutually exclusive, and "languages evolve" is not a meme nor has it ever been.

But using the term "limp-wristed idiots", not to mention "pussify" clearly shows you have FAR more problems than I am willing to deal with on a comments section of a /. article. Go get some help for your rampant idiocy.

Ya I've never found their shit remotely useful (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535086)

Occasionally when researching a product/company/etc I'll find stuff on there just blasting it. Never have I found it to be accurate when I've purchased. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I think more likely the people on there are just whiny.

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534964)

Sounds like it's more yet another case of a site taking advantage of their retention prerogative to make written words haunt her forever.

I would love to be her future boss...err...EX-future boss.

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536202)

Sounds like it's more yet another case of a site taking advantage of their retention prerogative to make written words haunt her forever.

Well, she posted that information, and people have already had a chance to rely on what she posted.

She shouldn't get to just "erase" what she said, and pretend she never said it, while there are potentially people still going around spreading what she had said, and relying on that information.

If someone should get questioned based on what she said, they should get to have faith that the RipOffReport article they are citing doesn't magically disappear, because the poster has now lost confidence in it, or its inconvenient for them personally.

RipOffReport does not need to be going around trying to shield the poster from the consequences of their actions and hurt other people.

The responsible thing to do would be to offer the poster a mechanism to "add" a followup to their original post, linking a correction, for example.

Re:You can't edit what you say vocally afterwards. (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536174)

Sounds like she's learned a hard lesson in "think before you speak".

When you "speak"; it's temporary and not viewable by the world. Posting things on the internet is more permanent.

There are still a lot of people who haven't yet learned "think before you post" or "think before you tweet"

But even people who have learned that lesson occasionally make mistakes.

Especially when intoxicated by alcohol, or by anger.

so in FB... (0)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533984)

Iif i ask them to delete all pics and status' when I delete my account, and they dont..its ok that they dont? I would think the owner of the post owns the comment which is why the provider cant be sued, but if the providers refuse to take it down when requested by the owner/poster, that is an entirely different legal matter. Sounds to me like the poster could sue on that part.

-KI

Re:so in FB... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534144)

Not that it has anything to do with the matter at hand, but you agreed to Facebook's terms and conditions when you signed up.

Re:so in FB... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534974)

That doesn't count when they abuse their "we reserve the right to decide to fuck you in the ass later" clause to backdoor privacy violations but don't give you a chance to opt out of their services.

Re:so in FB... (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534278)

Iif i ask them to delete all pics and status' when I delete my account, and they dont..its ok that they dont? I would think the owner of the post owns the comment which is why the provider cant be sued, but if the providers refuse to take it down when requested by the owner/poster, that is an entirely different legal matter. Sounds to me like the poster could sue on that part.

RTFA...

Re:so in FB... (1, Interesting)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534772)

RTFA...
meh. i rarely RTFA to be honest. Personally the thread comments are the news for nerds im after anyways. I get more good info/explanations and lots of good sites and links from the comments on here. And i dont have to worry about /. effect, pay walls, or getting pissed when i waste time reading some of the garbage FA's or stupid fucking ad's passed off as FA. An as another poster pointed out, FB TOS and conditions say they can do what they want.

-KI

Re:so in FB... (4, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534710)

Iif i ask them to delete all pics and status' when I delete my account, and they dont..its ok that they dont?

In Europe, generally no. Nearly everywhere else, yes.

Bad timing (1, Informative)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533992)

She should have just waited a couple months for SOPA to get secret-voted in.

Then instead of chiming in with the communications decency act, she could just accuse them of copyright infringement of her own posting, and poor RippoffReport would lose their domain name.

I expect her to try again later and win. It wouldn't be double jeopardy since it will be a completely different crime.

Re:Bad timing (2)

LocalH (28506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534290)

It wouldn't be double jeopardy anyway as that only applies to criminal cases, not civil suits. You may be thinking of res judicata, which means that one can have only one trial for claims arising from one transaction or occurrence. Pretty sure that means she's boned.

Re:Bad timing (3, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534978)

She's boned most likely because of the site's terms of service which give them omnipotent editorial prerogative.

You can actually sue twice for the same thing if you have different reasons.

In fact, (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534018)

The argument could be made that if they *did* take it down, it was admission of responsibility for content. ISPs wrestled with this a few years ago. (The "common carrier" thing.)

Re:In fact, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535602)

No -- they can take it down too without any liability. They just choose not to. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act.

Re:In fact, (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536262)

>>The "common carrier" thing

Watching Anderson Cooper (ick, I know) tonight, he seemed to be pushing for eliminating the common carrier classification for internet sites, and moving them to the, quote, "newspaper model".

Given CNN et al's support for SOPA, this didn't come as a surprise, but it was still an unpleasant thing to watch a grey-haired man that people apparently respect talking so blithely about destroying our liberty.

They do have a link for updating though. (5, Informative)

aklinux (1318095) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534062)

They state up front that they NEVER delete a report from their database once it's been entered. They do have a fairly prominent link for updating &/or rebutting. I guess that'll have to do ...

Responsibility for content can change (4, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534068)

Isn't it the user who posted the comment the one who's asking to have it taken down?

I fail to see how respecting the poster's implicit copyright over their statement allows the web site operator to refuse to remove the comment.

By insisting on keeping the defamatory post up despite the wishes of the poster, I would argue that the web site owners are assuming responsibility for that content, and are therefore liable for future lawsuits. They are not liable for the opinions of their users, but once they claim ownership of the content by refusing to take it down at the poster's request, that "who's responsible" game shifts focus rather dramatically.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (5, Informative)

WeirdAlchemy (2530168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534128)

In the link from the last page of the article, RipOffReport provides some rationale for this. They liken it to a court case where a person is sued and found innocent. Despite having received a good verdict, all the paperwork of the lawsuit still exists on permanent public record.

That being said, the original article contains some pretty strongly worded statements from the court indicating that RipOffReport is being a bit shady, but that the court's hands are tied by law. It doesn't seem that way to me from reading RipOffReport's side of things, but then it's worth keeping in mind that the court might know more than we do.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534418)

I find the footnote about the business practice of ripoffreport.com in the ruling particularly interesting.

As part of the record on appeal, Xcentric describes a “service” it provides to
people and entities who wish to challenge false postings on Xcentric’s website.
This “service” is called the “Corporate Advocacy Program” by Xcentric.
Individuals or businesses who believe they have been defamed by a posting on
Xcentric’s website must, according to the amicus brief filed in this case, “pay a
tidy sum to be investigated by Xcentric’s management.” Moreover, “[i]n addition
to a steep upfront charge, the business is required to make periodic payments to
keep its status in the program.” Xcentric further indicates on its website that the
program “NEVER includes removal of complaints.” http://www.ripoffreport.com/
ConsumersSayThankYou/WantToSueRipoffReport.aspx (emphasis in original).

This is not something I would expected from a website purported to be a consumer advocate.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534244)

I think it's basically this: it's not the poster suing RipoffReport. The poster may have a cause of action against RR for keeping the posting up, the company may have a cause of action against the poster if they don't do their best to have the post taken down, but the law bars the company from suing RR over someone else's material.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534610)

I don't think you understand what RipOffReport is. They allow anyone to sign up and post anything about anyone under the guise of a consumer advocate site. So, the existence of something on the site about a person carries some weight in people's eyes simply because of the kind of site it is on. And there is no minimal requirement to verify what is being posted and you can do so anonymously.

Then, the guy who runs the site will never remove anything. Under any circumstances. Ever. Period. Unless you pay for their business service to "work with you" to "deal with negative feedback" on the site. The entire site is set up for the administrator behind it to extort people. And not just businesses, but regular every day people.

There is absolutely nothing stopping someone from going online because they're an embittered ex girlfriend or underling or anyone else and saying that you were caught embezzling at work and that you rape children. And posting your full name and home address. And it will always be there. In fact, someone did this against one of the Google guys (Eric Schmidt, I think?) some time ago on the site. ... and there is nothing you can do.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripoff_Report

Actually, I take that back. There is something you can do. You can pay for a corporate account/service to help mitigate/remove things about you on there. Or, if you're the victim of a false report, you can pay to have a company the website hires to perform arbitration and possibly adjust or remove something about you. The starting price is $2,000. And for all you know, they'll decide to keep the content on there, anyway. And you're not only out your reputation because of a jilted lover or pissy co-worker, but you're out a few thousand bucks.

The entire fucking thing is a SCAM. How it is still in operation is beyond me. It is one of the saddest things on the internet and it makes me ill.

Warner Brothers can have a website shut down in a heartbeat by filling out a simple DMCA report and claiming that the webmaster is violating their copyright (even if the only evidence is that you have a file on your server that has a word that happens to be a word in the title of a movie that they own). But, someone posts personal information about you and libels you on a website that purports to be a consumer advocacy site? Even if you don't do business, have a business, conduct any business, or have any business to do with anyone anywhere ever and are just the victim of someone's vendetta? . . .sorry, you're fucked! Webmasters aren't responsible for anything posted on their sites. Even if it's false. Even if it's vindictive. And they're not even required to remove it. Tough titties!.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535652)

What I'd do with that site is decline to "work with them". I'd file against the person who posted the false and defamatory information (using the proper legal tools to get their identity if they'd posted pseudonymously), get them into court and get a judgement against them including an order requiring them to remove the posting. If the site declined, I'd go back and ask the judge for a court order against them requiring them to comply with the poster's request. I'm in a much stronger position now, and I've a good argument for contempt of court if the site still refuses to comply with a lawful court order to cooperate.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534264)

Because in the real world there is no such thing as "copyright". If you pass on information, you went past the point where you are able to control it.
You can deny that all you want. But unless you put a chip in everyone's head and surveillance in every device and in every place, that's simply how it is.
The whole term was invented by organized crime anyway, so it would be nice if you would stop using it. Otherwise all you do, is support your own worst enemy. The one whose "Copyright 2.0" is ACTA, PIPA, SOPA, and a whole lot of PITA.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534392)

Most websites have an EULA that states anything posted using THEIR software is the property of the site.

If I take a dump and flush it down the toilet, can I then go to the waste treatment center and ask for it back?

Stop - you /.'s are supposedly smart people. Argue all you want bud - I'll be at happy hour while you sweat the small stuff. You should be a lawyer.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (2)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535128)

If I take a dump and flush it down the toilet, can I then go to the waste treatment center and ask for it back?

I have a septic tank, you insensitive clod!

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536286)

Funny. Most of the sites I visit have specific disclaimers that the comments are the property of the poster and that the site takes no responsibility for what it's posters say. It's been a long time since I've seen a website be so foolish as to accept the responsibility for the legal risks of user's content by claiming ownership of that content.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534982)

By posting it she gave them an implicit license under that copyright.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (2)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535486)

Isn't it the user who posted the comment the one who's asking to have it taken down?

Yes and no. A temporary injunction was filed against the woman who originally posted the alleged "defamatory" comment. That's what prompted her request for the removal, but then the court notes in its decision that the injunction got dissolved almost immediately anyway.

Nowhere does it say in the decision from the court that she thought her comments were false, or even defamatory. I'm afraid that part may have come from NewYorkCountryLawyer's editorializing.

I fail to see how respecting the poster's implicit copyright over their statement allows the web site operator to refuse to remove the comment.

Where did you read that? They cite the Communications Act as the reason for their decision. The Communications Act talks about speech or publishing, but it says nothing explicitly about copyright (unless there is an infringement of some kind). Had the site posted a video on youtube with the woman making a Jerry Springer-style accusation about the organization in that video. The reasoning of the court would probably have staid the same.

Also, the terms of use of the site couldn't be more explicitly well laid out.

ROR is a permanent record of disputes, including disputes which have been fully resolved. In order to maintain a complete record, information posted on ROR will not be removed. By posting information on ROR, you understand and agree that the material you post will become part of ROR’s permanent record and will NOT be removed even at your request.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536340)

Copyright is the identification of the individual legally responsible for content. Everyone has implicit copyright on what they say, should they choose to identify themselves when they say it. You can also claim explicit copyright over a phrase by simply making a public statement of claim. It's a perfectly valid legal construct.

An access license to the copyright content is another matter entirely. When you post to a website, you're agreeing to grant them and their readers a grant of license to view what you've written. You did that when you accepted their terms of use and conduct.

But you still retain your original copyright, and you have the legal right to change your mind about licensing at any time unless someone can somehow demonstrate that their copyright and licensing agreements conflict with yours and that they don't agree with the change (witness the difficulty of getting the thousands of contributors to the Linux kernel to even vote on something so serious as a change from the GPLv2 license they originally agreed to work together under.)

Now if someone chose to quote you while you had granted an access license, you can't chase them down to remove the copy of the content they quoted because they've exercised a right to reasonable use of publicly accessible media. But I believe you have EVERY right to expect that a website respect your copyright and your right to determine what license that copyrighted information is to be available under, if at all.

Don't get me wrong -- that doesn't mean the website owner has to actually delete all records of the original post. That could get difficult if it's been archived and backed up. But you as a website owner should be held responsible for allowing the user to remove the content from view, as Google+ and Facebook do when you delete a comment.

If a site doesn't allow deletion by the poster, they should be reminded of that every single time they post so they're aware that it's going to be out there for all time. I think of the Slashdot "Preview" button as that reminder that what you're about to post is going to be there forever -- here's one last chance to review it and make any edits before you've committed yourself to....

A statement.

Once you click that final approval, you've given birth to an independent thought and shared it with the world. Your only future recourse on slashdot is to clarify and argue with detractors when they respond to what you've said.

In the same situation, how hard would it be to have the Slashdot editors remove a post that you changed your mind about?

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536362)

Just to clarify, if the license you originally published under has no explicit license termination clauses, you can't revoke the license you originally published under. But you always have the right to republish your statements under different license terms in the future unless you explicitly reassign copyright to someone else, or to publish the same copyright content under many different licenses by posting copies to many different websites.

Re:Responsibility for content can change (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536640)

Except that the federal law in question provides that no website is considered either an 'author' or a 'publisher' of any 'information [the post] provided by another information content provider [the user]'. It then goes on to explicitly overrule any state/local laws that conflict with this.

Short version is, this law was intended to shield Internet companies for being passive conduits. It would be a terrible idea if, anytime anyone sent defamatory content through the mail, the victim could sue the Post Office, right?

The problem is, the wording was very broad. So now this company is covered by the liability shield (which provides more or less complete immunity from defamation laws of any kind) because it's user-generated content. But they're NOT a passive conduit, their business is apparently set up to actively solicit this type of arguably-libelous content.

So yeah, your suggestion is a good idea - it might be a good idea to tweak the CDA to strip the liability shield if the user wants something removed and the company refuses. But as written, that's not currently how the law works. Which is unfortunate.

I would count this as a victory for the Internet.. (4, Informative)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534374)

if RipOffReport wasn't such a massive blackmail scam.

After a dozen clicks through pages to get to their "Corporate Advocacy Program", I finally found where they charge an up-front fee and a "rate" to make sure the reports listed on their site do not appear as high on search results as the actual website.

Though it seems they also pride themselves on never taking money to remove a post.

So is this just selling SEO services to affected businesses? How is this not shady?

Re:I would count this as a victory for the Interne (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534472)

Exactly. That place is one of the most scammy, scummy, disgusting, exploitive places on the internet and the guy behind it is an extortionist. I don't have a business. I don't do any business. There is no reason for me to be listed on there. But, I am. Some random person that I don't even know but apparently has a beef with me posted a long diatribe accusing me of very shady stuff that I wouldn't want people thinking I had anything to do with. On top of it, the person posted my personal information. My full name, my contact info, my home address. And there's nothing that can be done. The guy who runs the site will "work with you" for a fee. But there's no way to remove information. Don't like your boss? Don't like an ex-boyfriend? Have a bad experience with someone at a company you do business with? You can get away with posting absolutely anything about them on this site and it'll be there for eternity - without any relation to actual reality.

Worse, Google seems to give results from this site priority in their listings (while other search engines sensibly PENALIZE the site - partially because of their black SEO activities).

It really depresses me that this random person that I don't even think I know posted some random invented crap about me on this site and now it shows up when I google myself (which I don't do, because it depresses me as a result of this). But there's absolutely no recourse. Unless I want to pay a bunch of money tot he guy who runs this rip off of a site.

And, of course, people just googling around have no idea. They see this as a legitimate site to read about and report companies (and INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE). They have no idea that what they're looking at (or contributing to, even) is a guy's extortion service.

For those unfamiliar with this shitty site, do a little googling on it. There are tons of discussions as well as news articles about the guy behind it and the problems with the site, with their relationship in google searches, and so on.

Re:I would count this as a victory for the Interne (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534736)

It really depresses me that this random person that I don't even think I know posted some random invented crap about me on this site and now it shows up when I google myself (which I don't do, because it depresses me as a result of this). But there's absolutely no recourse. Unless I want to pay a bunch of money tot he guy who runs this rip off of a site.

This sounds to me like there's a real possibility that this guy himself invented some random bad stuff, attached real names from a phonebook or some other source to it and hopes that these people pay him money for removing it again. I guess that would be great business plan for someone lacking any hint of morals.

Re:I would count this as a victory for the Interne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534986)

Welcome to 'people power' aka 'the dictatorship of the proletariat' aka 'the Slashdotter's preferred vision of heaven'.

Re:I would count this as a victory for the Interne (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535496)

Sounds like you need to file... ...a ripoff report *sunglasses*

Um... (1)

jra (5600) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534390)

Wasn't there any actual *coverage of the case* somewhere on the web that could have been linked to, Ray?

Re:Um... (3, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534874)

Wasn't there any actual *coverage of the case* somewhere on the web that could have been linked to, Ray?

Yes of course. Here's an article by excellent law professor/law blogger Eric Goldman, who as an amicus curiae in the case:

Technology & Marketing Law Blog [ericgoldman.org]

(Should I be offended that jra doesn't consider my blog post actuall "coverage"?")

Church of Scientology (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534548)

Clowns.

3rd party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534596)

The poster of the content asking for removal of their content isn't a 3rd party. It's the 2nd party.

Re:3rd party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535306)

In the matter of the person asking for removal of the content, yes, they are the second party to the site, which is the first party.

In the matter of the complaint by the corporation about the defamatory post, the corporation is the first party, the site is the second party, and the person asking for their content to be removed is the third party.

This second scenario is the one that matters.

Depends on what the definition of person is. (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535094)

So if a person is a person and a corporation is a "person", then if a site posts something harmful to a person it's OK, but if they post something harmful to a "person" it's copyright infringement?

welcome to ripoffreport.com (2)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535676)

They have been sued numerous times for not removing posts *when the author of the post requested that it should be removed*. I think the bottom line is don't use ripoffreport.com, use complaintsboard.com or any similar site.

Re:welcome to ripoffreport.com (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38537566)

If you read their ToS, you'll discover that you don't own content you post to their site, they do. So, you have no legal right to demand they remove anything you post there.

Interesting development (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535938)

This article just appeared in my news feed:
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/google-and-ilk-cant-shirk-responsibility-for-ranters-20111229-1pe93.html [smh.com.au]

Excerpt: "....Google, which replied that it is not responsible for any allegedly defamatory content and it does not remove defamatory, insulting, negative or distasteful material from US domains. It claims that under US law internet services, such as the blogger site, are republishers and not the publisher."

and

"Last year, a judge in Ireland gave permission to the Irish Red Cross to start proceedings against Google in California in order to obtain the identity of an anonymous blogger who had posted what the charity claimed was ''distorted confidential'' material. Italian and French courts have held Google liable for defamations that arose from ''autocomplete'' search requests.
In England, the Demon internet service provider was found to be liable for defamation after a judge held that the ''innocent disseminator'' defence didn't wash once an ISP had notice of the offensive content."

So it appears that being a provider (3rd party) may include liability. Looks like freedom of speech and being responsible for the content is being taken seriously by some courts. I can see that could be a problem for re-posters.

New proposed S.O.P.A. Legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536774)

Wonder how the New S.O.P.A. Legislation will affect future decisions.

Check out S.O.P.A. below
http://youtu.be/tFnqa8Gk3as

Clint Smith
CreateCash [createcashwithclint.com]

Santa Clarita Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536844)

what's defamoatory>wwe

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