As a follow-up to yesterday’s post regarding privacy, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals laid bare a flaw in the Communications Decency Act 0f 1996, granting websites immunity over liability for content uploaded by individual users. Apparently, it’s a license to exploit people. The case involves former Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones and defamatory material uploaded to the gossip site thedirty.com. Jones claimed mental anguish stemming from posts related to the sexual history of her and her ex-husband, sued owner/publisher of The Dirty, Nik Richie, and was awarded $3338,000 by a federal court. The appeals court overturned the ruling on the grounds that Jones should not have been abel to sue Richie in the first place owing to the protections afforded him by the Communications Decency Act.
Perhaps the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled appropriately according to the law, but with regard to the spirit of the law, we’ve lost our goddamn minds, and the law needs revision. Given the number of news-format sites that crowd-source (i.e. nearly all of them), and the number of sites that trade on salacious garbage (i.e. way too many of them), and the fact that everybody is fair game, it is simply insane to provide blanket immunity to website owners who profit on the misery of others. But then, Sarah Jones is an attractive cheerleader, so I guess she deserves it, right?
It’s a world gone mad.
See article on the case here.