Failures

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
college students, rumors, safe harbors

Companies:
juicycampus



JuicyCampus Runs Out Of Juice

from the there-go-the-lawsuits dept

If you've been on a college campus in the past couple of years, you're almost certainly aware of the site JuicyCampus -- which was a very open set of forums that encouraged people to gossip about others on campus. As you can imagine, things sometimes got pretty heated, and there were regular discussions in the legal community about the liability that JuicyCampus must face. It was definitely pushing the boundaries of safe harbor provisions concerning the separation of a site and what its users did on the site. However, it looks like we won't get a big test case involving JuicyCampus any time soon, as the site has abruptly shut down, citing the current economic climate. The site's founder claims that the cost of running the servers greatly outweighed any incoming advertising revenue, though plenty of people are guessing that pending lawsuits may have been a much bigger issue in the decision making process. Either way, given the popularity of the site, others will quickly fill the void, and perhaps we'll have new test cases in the near future.

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  • icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), 5 Feb 2009 @ 4:20pm

    It was in such bad taste that someone will fill the void.

    I actually checked the site out over 4 years ago and found it very tasteless. But that also means that someone will do the same thing but find a way to do it without the legal issues.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2009 @ 9:46pm

      Re: It was in such bad taste that someone will fill the void.

      it didn't exist 4 years ago- it was only around for a year and a bit

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), 5 Feb 2009 @ 4:23pm

    Also Mike another good point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Urza, 5 Feb 2009 @ 4:59pm

    What was questionable?

    Where was the legal question in all this? I don't get it. If they just provide a forum and say 'gossip here', I don't see anything wrong with it. Sure, it may be in bad taste, but it's far from being illegal. The combination of the first amendment and safe harbor provisions should be plenty to keep this in the clear legally. If it isn't, that's a pretty scary thought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Skeptical Cynic (profile), 5 Feb 2009 @ 5:09pm

      Re: What was questionable?

      I agree. I never would say "this is in bad taste, so stop!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Urza, 5 Feb 2009 @ 5:15pm

        Re: Re: What was questionable?

        You can go ahead and tell them to stop all you want, they aren't _required_ to. Just because it's in bad taste doesn't mean it's legally questionable. There are a hell of a lot of people who think people who burn flags should be arrested or worse, but that doesn't mean it's illegal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TW Burger, 5 Feb 2009 @ 7:00pm

      Re: What was questionable?

      Safe harbor my ass. What is someone posts the rumor you like to fondle little boys? The first amendment and safe harbor provisions do not give anyone the right to say anything at any time. The first amendment was designed to allow reasonable criticism of the government and other institutions without fear of being imprisoned. It does not give a college kid the right to post libelous slander.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Urza, 5 Feb 2009 @ 8:23pm

        Re: Re: What was questionable?

        Who said anything about college kids having the right to post libelous slander? They aren't telling anyone to do that. If I make a post here saying 'I saw Bill Gates fondle a little girl', is Techdirt responsible for that? No. Why is this different? It's not. You can't say the laws apply to one site but not to another. They either apply or they don't.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          ToySouljah, 5 Feb 2009 @ 10:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: What was questionable?

          Very true, but I think double standards have become the norm in society. It all comes down to power and money...if you have enough of either you can pretty much get away with anything or hire a lobbyist and have the law changed in your favor...lol. TW Burger is right though...freedom of speech (in the US) was intended to protect citizens from being arrested/killed for criticizing the government and other big institutions. Imagine all the people that would have been arrested just in the past 8 years alone if we didn't have that protection...lol.

          It really comes down to people being responsible for themselves, and the lawyers need to leave sites like this alone. If someone has a problem with another person then go after that person to resolve the issue civilly. If the problem persists then simply make your statement in the forum for others to read and drop it. Be the bigger man in the situation and don't feed the trolls...simple huh?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Urza, 6 Feb 2009 @ 7:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What was questionable?

            Exactly. I just think that the very fact that the legality of this site is being questioned is rather frightening. What's this world coming to when people think they need to sue some random website because their 'friend' let their secret out or something. There always has been gossip, there always will be gossip, but you don't fight it by beating up whoever mentions it to you - you fight it by figuring out who's starting it and why. Otherwise you'll just make things far, far worse.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Feb 2009 @ 3:24am

        Re: Re: What was questionable?

        That's what safe harbor laws are for, genius. It's so that if someone posts something libellous (such as the false claim that you're a pedophile), then it's the person who made such claims that gets punished, not the person providing the forum.

        Either way, the sad thing about the American legal system is that any upcoming cases would place a huge financial burden on the site, even if they were found innocent of all charges.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    adam, 5 Feb 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Why did they shut down?

    They claim their user numbers are strong and advertising remained loyal... so if they are making money and have a following then what the issue?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2009 @ 6:09pm

    What about 4chan?

    4chan, I'm pretty sure, is way more borderline than JuicyCampus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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