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Court Rules MySpace Posts Aren't Private

pickens (49171) writes | more than 5 years ago

The Courts 0

The Narrative Fallacy writes "Following a visit to her hometown of Coalinga California in 2005, Cynthia Moreno wrote "An ode to Coalinga," and posted it in her MySpace page. The Ode opened with "the older I get, the more I realize how much I despise Coalinga" and made a number of negative comments about Coalinga and its inhabitants. The entry was posted for six days before Moreno removed it but that was long enough for the principal of Coalinga High School to find the ode and forward it to Pamela Pond, editor of the Coalinga Record, who published it in the newspaper's letters section. Local reaction was swift. Moreno's parents say they received death threats, a gun shot was fired at their home and her father's 20-year-old business lost so much money that it was closed and the family moved out of town. Moreno and her family responded by suing for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Now a Fresno based appellate court says Moreno had no grounds for her claim of invasion of privacy even if she meant her thoughts for a limited audience. "Cynthia's affirmative act made her article available to any person with a computer and, thus, opened it to the public eye," wrote Justice Levy. However, the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress was not dismissed and a jury will get to decide if the defendants' conduct was extreme and outrageous. In the meantime the editor who republished the essay has been fired and lawyer Eric Goldman, Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, wonders "if the violent and ostracizing community response to Moreno's post didn't in fact validate some of her critiques.""

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