Yahoo Removing Your Stock Board Comments Is Not A Violation Of Your First Amendment Rights

from the freedom-to-post? dept

Eric Goldman points us to the latest silly lawsuit against Yahoo. This time, it's a guy who posted a bunch of comments on various stock forums, and when Yahoo appears to have canceled his account, he sued the company for violating his First Amendment rights. You can read the full lawsuit below:
Of course, the First Amendment has nothing to do with this whatsoever. It is entirely focused on what Congress can do, not what some company can do. Congress can't make a law preventing this guy from sharing his thoughts -- but Yahoo has every right to remove his comments. The guy's other complaints are that in removing his posts, Yahoo is "aiding and abetting" stock pumpers, but he provides little evidence to back that up (and, again, simply removing his posts hardly seems like aiding and abetting.) Oh, right, and then there's the claim that this somehow violates the guy's civil rights. At some point people might realize that companies have no obligation to let you say whatever you want...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Yozoo, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 12:15pm


    The Constitution now protects us from Yahoo as well? Tell me this guy doesnt have a member of any bar working with him?

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

  2. identicon
    Nick, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 12:53pm


    Hello everybody... Wake up... you can't sue everybody just because you don't like what they did to you. Just go pout in the corner and get over it. It doesn't make it illegal.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Re: duh?

    Actually, you can sue people for doing things you don't like. You aren't very likely to win, though. Then you could end up having to pay attorney's fees.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    "...- but Yahoo has every right to remove his comments."

    If the courts think this person is wasting their time they can say so .... what exactly is your point ?!!

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

  5. identicon
    Xerloq, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Will he win, that depends

    The speech clause in the First Amendment was originally intended to govern laws prohibiting speech however, though precedent of various court cases, this guy might have a case. It all depends on whether the Yahoo stock forums can be shown to be a public forum of ideas (which isn't likely, but possible).

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    I am reminded of a quote from one of the admins in an online community I used to hang around in:

    "I'm American. I respect the Bill of Rights. Freedom of Speech is one of the greatest parts of being American. That being said, you have no rights in here, whatsoever."

    Private companies can do what they want with their property. Yahoo can take down any comments they want and block whoever they want for basically whatever reason they want. They won't win awards for overusing the power, and using it too much will probably get some negative publicity, but it's their right. Same as the way newspapers aren't legally obligated to publish letters you send in to them; it's not a violation of your rights, it's an enforcement of theirs.

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

  7. identicon
    DJ, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 2:24pm


    The most frustrating aspect of civil rights violation claims is that these people have forgotten that while we have the Constitutional right to say what we want; we also have the Constitutional right to wholeheartedly, and vehemently, disagree with what everyone else says; AND TO DEMAND THAT THEY NOT SAY IT IN OUR PRESENCE!

    unrelated tangent: if it's a spoken untruth it's slander; if it's a written untruth, it's NOT slander, it's libel.

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

  8. identicon
    Trerro, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

    Free speech is vs the government, not vs. private property

    If you walk onto someone's property and decide to be a jackass, the owners of said property have every right to tell to shut up, kick you out, or both. That the property in question is a message board rather than a physical location doesn't change this fact. Getting banned = getting kicked off their property, it really is that simple.

    Accusing someone of a crime or unethical act with no evidence to back it up is indeed a good reason for an admin to ban your account, and it appears that's what happened here.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 4:38pm


    I think the point is that stupid losers are dragging our legal system further into the toilet by wasting the valuable time and energies of the court.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2009 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re:

    The wastage of court time here is insignificant compared to the amount wasted on abuse of DMCA etc. and it isn't going to stop just because some people get bent out of shape about "stupid losers" !

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

  11. identicon
    Steve, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    People these days seem to get their rights and their overinflated sense of entitlement mixed up. See what happens when you don't spank your fucking kids as they grow up?

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

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