6th Circuit holds TheDirty.com immune to suit for defamatory comments made on its website
Earlier this week the Sixth Circuit held that a gossip site, www.TheDirty.com, was not responsible for a defamatory post made by a third party on its website, reversing the lower court’s decision. Jones v. Dirty World Entm’t Recordings, LLP, No. 13-5946 (6th Cir. June 16, 2014). Although an editorial note made by the defendant was appended to the posting on the website, the appeals court ruled that the defendant’s actions were immune to suit under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), 47 U.S. Code § 230, which provides that no “provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” The Sixth Circuit reasoned that plaintiff’s claims were barred by the CDA since the website “did not author” or “materially contribute to the illegality” of the third party postings. Jones at 22. Evan Brown provides commentary.
FBI, NYPD create federal cybercrime task force
A Financial Cyber Crimes Task Force has been established in New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed in a statement released earlier this week. The new task force will combine resources and agents from the New York Police Department, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and FBI, aiming to extend the reach of law enforcement to “help identify, pursue, and prosecute those who commit cybercrime wherever they may be.” This New York-based task force is one of 45 that the FBI has set up in field offices countrywide as part of the Next Generation Cyber Initiative it established in 2012. RT notes that the creation of the task force is part of the FBI’s more broad-scale plan to escalate its response to cyber crime throughout the country “in the same way that national security was adjusted in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.”
Employee denied unemployment benefits for violating employer’s social media policy
In reaching its decision in Talbot v. Desert View Care Center, No. 41208 (Idaho Sup. Ct. June 20, 2014), the Supreme Court of Idaho has affirmed the Idaho Industrial Commission’s determination to deny unemployment benefits to a man fired for violating his employer’s social media policy. Joseph Talbot, a nurse at a local care center, posted an obscene and threatening message on his Facebook wall regarding one of his patients and was subsequently fired. Talbot was later denied unemployment benefits since he was discharged for cause. Although he claimed to be “just frustrated and venting,” Talbot at 2, the Court ruled that Talbot engaged in employment-related misconduct in violation of his employer’s social media policy by posting the threatening Facebook message. Eric Goldman of Technology & Marketing Law Blog analyzes some of the flaws in the Court’s reasoning.