Could Facebook's Ever-Changing Privacy Policies Impact Whether You Can Subpoena's Someone's Facebook Page In Court?
from the ah,-legal-complexities dept
Michael Scott points us to an interesting analysis of a case that examined whether or not certain aspects of your Facebook page could be subpoenaed in a civil lawsuit, and the answer more or less came down to the privacy settings on that content:
The case involved copyright claims brought by a plaintiff who licensed his artwork to a garment maker. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant-licensee used the copyrighted material outside the scope of the license and breached the license agreement. The defendant-licensee issued a subpoena to Facebook seeking the plaintiff’s Facebook wall posts, profile information, and communications with a third party. The plaintiff moved to quash the subpoena, arguing that the Facebook messages, wall postings, and certain profile information fell under the Stored Communications Act and therefore could not be produced by Facebook pursuant to a civil subpoena.
The court largely agreed, although it remanded to the magistrate judge for the magistrate judge to address the factual issue of whether certain of the sought after information was publicly available. To the extent the privacy settings on the profile page allowed the general public to access the information it could be produced by Facebook, but non-public information would be treated differently.
That definitely makes sense, but with so much attention recently on Facebook’s ever changing privacy policies, you may have to add in a time-component as well. However, it does seem weird that a change in Facebook’s policies could determine whether or not your Facebook wall ends up in court…