Once Again: Do Not Send Legal Threats To Companies Because You Don't Like What A User Says

from the both-according-to-the-law-and-common-sense dept

It's getting to be rather silly how many times we've posted about section 230 of the CDA, which protects websites from the actions of their users -- but it seems that there's no shortage of folks with quick legal trigger fingers, who figure that anything they dislike online must be illegal, and they can blame the site that hosted it. The latest example, sent in by an anonymous reader, is that 800Notes, one of many websites that allows users to post notes on random callers (telemarketers and such) discovered that the owner of one company, mynutritionstore, whose phone number was listed on the site sent an angry threat demanding it be taken down, because someone had a negative experience with the company. When 800Notes told the owner of mynutritionstore that it would not remove the negative reviews, he apparently threatened to sue 800Notes. Public Citizen stepped in and sent him a quick legal lesson on the safe harbors provided by the CDA, how anti-SLAPP laws work and also pointed out that his claim that the posts were defamatory is clearly shown to be untrue by the fact that the same demand for a takedown claims that the content is proprietary to mynutrtionstore. If it's proprietary than that would indicate that it's truthful, not defamatory. It's not libel if it's the truth.

So, once again, just because you dislike what someone has to say about you online, it doesn't mean that it's illegal. Also, threatening to sue the service provider for content you dislike generated by users is bound to backfire -- often badly. Hopefully, more people will learn this, and we'll stop seeing these sorts of threats.
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Filed Under: cda, legal threats, safe harbors, slapp
Companies: 800notes, mynutritionstore


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:43am

    Wow, the level of maturity in corporations is sure dropping lately. Employees do lousy work, and when it comes back to bite them, instead of trying to correct their work habits, they whine and complain and try to sue everybody in sight. Whatever happened to customer service? It's about nothing more than pure greed anymore. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have this telemarketing problem in the first place.

    On a related note, I recently had a problem with some stupid place in Wisconsin (I'm in Minnesota) calling me constantly, at various times of the day and night, sometimes more than once per day. I rarely ever use my landline phone (mostly there for DSL) and the number is unlisted, unpublished, and on the do-not-call list. I googled the phone number calling me and found out it's a nasty telemarketing scheme, which I find very offensive provided the measures I've taken to avoid phone spam.

    Anyway, after about 3 dozen or so times with that number calling me, the last time the phone started to ring, I picked it up and slammed it back down. Apparently they got the message, because that number hasn't called anymore since then. If only all these telemarketers were so easy to deal with. XD

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