by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 2nd 2009 3:59pm
In the US, thanks to safe harbor rules in the DMCA and the CDA, courts will often toss out misdirected lawsuits that go after a service provider for the actions of a user. To be honest, I've always questioned why we need such safe harbors in the first place, since it should just be basic common sense that a service provider shouldn't be liable for the actions of a user. But, of course, common sense just isn't that common. This can be seen, first, in all the lawsuits that require incantations of the safe harbors to get them tossed out, but even worse, in foreign countries that have no such safe harbor laws. Take for example, a case in India, where Google India is being blamed for content written by bloggers on Blogger. First, Blogger is run by Google, not Google India, so the lawsuit is doubly misdirected -- but, more importantly, Google itself cannot be responsible for what someone writes using its tool. That's like suggesting that Bic is responsible for what you write with its pens. The case involves a guy who was upset about what some bloggers wrote about him -- so of course, he had to sue Google. What's amazing is that the judge seems to have initially bought this as reasonable. It barred Google from hosting any blog that "defamed" this guy. Google has responded by trying to explain the basics of the internet to the judge and how it's impossible for Google to figure out if someone is defaming someone else using its software.
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