Cameron Diaz Can Tell People What Not To Link To?
from the seems-like-they're-going-a-bit-too-far... dept
Time for another thorny legal question concerning this wonderful thing we know as hypertext and the web. Apparently, there’s some video out there of well-known actress Cameron Diaz that she doesn’t want people seeing (something involving stuff she did when she was young and would rather the world didn’t know about). Last year, she got an injunction against the person who was selling the video, saying that he was banned from “disseminating, distributing, publishing, broadcasting or otherwise displaying the photos and/or video.” Fairly standard stuff. However, the injunction went one step further, claiming, that the ruling applied to “all others having knowledge or notice of this order.” So, along comes Nick Denton’s set of bloggers, where the folks at Fleshbot, Defamer and Gawker all had a field day with the fact that this video existed, and proceeded to link to a site that sold the video, as well as posting a screen shot from the video. This quickly resulted in a fairly nasty cease and desist letter from Ms. Diaz’ lawyers — even though they did not host or sell the video themselves. At first glance, this looks like a question about linking, and whether or not a judge can set up an injunction banning anyone (who knows about the injunction) from linking to a website. As has been discussed many times before, any ban on linking is ridiculous. The site doing the linking isn’t hosting anything, but just pointing. However, what isn’t getting as much coverage is the fact that the sites posted screenshots, which could fall under “otherwise displaying the photos” described in the injunction. At this point, it becomes a journalism question. Can people be barred from posting an image for journalistic reasons? The story of the video is now news, and the Gawker sites reported on it as news. Thus, it seems completely fair to include an image. Also, take it one step further. What if, instead of hosting the image themselves, they simply pulled it directly off another site? That’s the same thing as linking, basically. Even more importantly, though, an awful lot of people (such as myself) who otherwise never would have known (or, frankly, cared) about what Ms. Diaz did a decade ago now know. Like Barbara Streisand before her, it looks like Ms. Diaz is getting a quick lesson in how the internet works: if you try to ban something or take it down, it’s very likely that it will only get much, much more attention.