Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Myspace back in news: must it protect minors? Can it? Section 230 challenge? GMA story on Missouri case, also


I wrote about the Missouri Myspace hoax case in December on this blog (link) and got a couple interesting comments. This morning (April 1, 2008), ABC Good Morning America interviewed Ashley Grills, who was involved in setting up the “hoax” to spy on the teenager girl who would commit suicide when she believed she was “rejected.” The story is by Jonann Brady, “Exclusive: Teen talks about her role in web hoax that led to suicide; teen admits she create profile and wrote messages; testifies against neighborhood mom” link here. There is a federal grand jury investigation in Los Angeles based on the theory that the perpetrators created “wire fraud” by “defrauding Myspace.”

This whole tragic event reminds me of the other issue of "fiction" in blogs, websites and books, that too closely resembles "reality." I've discussed that on my main blog (March 26).

There is an AP story on AOL by Michael Kunzelman, “family pursues Myspace lawsuit,” in which a Texas family is asking a federal appeals court in New Orleans to renew a “downstream liability” case against Myspace, after a federal judge in Austin denied that Myspace has a legal ukase to protect minors against sexual predators. The story is here. At issue is Section 230, the liability shield, in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which shields ISP’s from liability. Here is the Cornell Law School link for Section 230.

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