The United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati took up oral arguments on the fast becoming famous case of Jones v Dirty World Entertainment Recordings and its found and owner, Nik Richie. The trial court in the case by way of jury trial awarded the Plaintiff damages in her defamation claim that The Dirty website had posted false and defamatory information about her concerning her sexual activities as a Cincinnati Bengals Cheerleader. The Dirty relied on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which allows a web host who simply allows third-party commentary on its website immunity from defamation claims. The trial court found that in the case of Nik Richie and The Dirty that it did more than simply provide third parties with a place to post their comments. The Court stated:
“In the view of this Court, the Act’s text indicates that it was intended only to provide protection for site owners who allow posting by third parties without screening them and those who remove offensive content. If, however, the owners, as in the instant case, invite invidious postings, elaborate on them with comments of their own, and call upon others to respond in kind, the immunity does not apply.”
Amicus briefs were filed by many, including Google and Facebook siding with The Dirty and claiming that the Court’s interpretation of Section 230 immunity under the CDA would subject them to needless claims for internet defamation. It will be interesting to find out whether the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the trial court and use of the case to emphasize what the trial court emphasized and that is that Section 230 Immunity only shields a web host from defamation claims if they do not become involved in soliciting or creating the content.
Online Defamation has many available resources which can be reviewed for more information:
- Defamation happens when a statement that is made is false and was made to someone other than the person defamed. Online defamation is happening on social websites and other online media as the internet becomes more and more popular.
- Examples of online defamation can help you to better understand if you have been defamed online.
- Online or internet defamation can also be known as cyber defamation.
Traverse Legal will post an update once the Court makes a decision.