In The Courts: Tenenbaum Loses Appeal, Fake News, Cheerleader Verdict, Win and Apple’s Forbidden Fruit

Appeals Court Upholds Award of $22,500 Per Song Against File Sharer

The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $675,000 award against then-college student Joel Tenenbaum for the illegal download of 30 copyrighted works.  In upholding the size of the award, the court noted that Tenenbaum also distributed as many as 5,000 songs.  Finding such behavior “egregious,” the court found such a damage award tnot to be excessive so as to violate due process.  Tenenbaum has been represented by the founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for  Internet and Society Charles Nessen.  Nessen spoke about this case last May on Cyber Law and Business Report, explaining that Tenenbaum was being unfairly punished for the collective harm suffered by music industry and not the harm specific to his actions.

FTC Complaint Against Fake News Sight Survives CDA Challenge

FILES-US-GOVERNMENT-FTCIn FTC v. LeanSpa, defendant sought to argue that the FTC’s action against it was barred by the immunity under the Communications Decency Act, but a Connecticut  federal court found that

on the face of the AmendedComplaint, it is plausible that LeadClick is an information content provider; and theLeadClick defendants cannot claim immunity under the CDA. See FTC v. Accusearch,570 F.3d 1187, 1197 (10th Cir. 2009) (“[A]n interactive computer service that is also aninformation content provider of certain content is not immune from liability arising from publication of that content.” (quoting Fair Hous. Council v., 521 F.3d1157, 1162 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc))).


“Freaky” Ruling Awards Disgraced Bengal Cheerleader $338K From Gossip Site

online-sports-betting-canada-234x300In 2009, gossip website, posted that Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and high school teacher Sarah Jones had slept with everyone on the team and had at least two sexually transmitted diseases, with the site administrator commenting “[w]hy are high school teachers freaks in the sack?”  A Kentucky judge refused to dismiss the suit under the CDA finding

by reason of the very name of the site, the manner in which it is managed, and the personal comments of [the site administrator], the defendants have specifically encouraged development of what is offensive about the content of the site.

While Jones complained that the posts ruined her reputation and led her students to think she was a slut, before the case went to trial, Jones plead guilty to criminal charges involving having sex with one of her minor students (who is reportedly now her fiancé).   While the verdict has received a lot of attention, the verdict is expected to be tossed on appeal (much like the Bengals who have not won a playoff game since 1990).

MATCH.COM Wins Dismissal of Suit by Rape Victim 

In 2011, after being raped by a convicted sex offender she met online through, the victim sued for failing to screen and gave the issue national attention when she appeared on the Today Show.  Match quickly settled the lawsuit and implemented a process to screen for sex offenders.

When a Nevada rape victim sued earlier this year for an incident occurring prior to the screening, fought it and won a dismissal.  In Beckman v., the court held that had immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and was not liable for the victims injuries from being stalked on the site and later stabbed and raped.

In More Mundane News . . . A TN Lawyer Sues Apple For His Porn Addiction

A Tennessee lawyer has filed a suit against Apple blaming it for his porn addiction, claiming

he could no longer tell the difference between internet pornography and tangible intercourse due to the content he accessed through the Apple products, which failed to provide him with warnings of the dangers of online pornography whatsoever.

He wants all computers to be set to internet safe mode, which ironically UK ISPs will be implementing in 2014.  The plaintiff even has a bizarre YouTube video to support his case.

More Info: Sony BMG Music Entertainment v Tenenbaum;   Beckman v.; Big Deal For Internet Law: Ex-Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones Wins Suit Against The Dirty Over ‘Reputation-Ruining’ Comments, Forbes; Lawyer: Apple Should Protect Me From My Porn Addiction; Above The Law; ISPs to include porn filters as default in the UK by 2014, Ars Technica