The Owner Of A Site That Tracks Reports Of Bedbug Infestations Threatened By Upset Hotel Owners

from the let-me-introduce-you-to-section-230 dept

Rose M. Welch points us to a report from Poynter about the site Bedbugregistry.com. As you might have heard, there's been a lot of attention paid to bedbug infestations lately, and that site is often cited by journalists covering the story. According to the Poynter report, hotel owners have often threatened to sue the site because they don't like seeing their hotels on the list. I'm sure they don't, but it's disappointing that the Poynter article doesn't point out that the operator of the site, Maciej Ceglowski, is protected by Section 230. That seems like an important element of the story. As it is, it kind of suggests that a hotel owner could have a lawsuit. While they could file one, it's unlikely that it would get very far, due to the clear safe harbors in Section 230.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bradley Stewart, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    These Hotel Owners

    should have no difficulty determining if their establishments are infested with bed bugs. All they have to do is check every room and if they see little bitty ladders propped up against the sides of all the beds they have a problem.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 5:59am

    Re: These Hotel Owners

    Sounds like those hotel owners....

    *Puts on glasses*

    ....could use a vacation.

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhhh!

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:03am

    The thing I don't get is why reports things that matter to people are being treated by the law, if it is true get a report that says so from someone credible and send it to the website.

    The website should put not only the reports of bed bugs but the legal threats send by some stabilishments so people can think about what kind of place is that, that don't want to deal with bad knews.

    I feel that people are trying to destroy quality control.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    ::face palm:: ::passes beer::

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    or...

    I guess you can say that the site really

    *puts on glasses*

    BUGS them.

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhhh!

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    Did you just copy/paste my "YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhhh!"?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhhh, he did.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    EAH, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    This is actually kind of important

    I live in Ohio. #1 in the country for bed bugs (we're #1! Go Ohio! Yay!!) And I travel overnight once a week within the state. I've been very fortunate not to have experienced any infestations yet, although my partner, who also travels out at least one night a week, has. I can tell you that exterminating bed bugs is intrusive, expensive, long, and arduous.

    Even if you are not in Ohio, check out that site if you are going to stay at a hotel. Even if it seems stupid to you, it is a lot less stupid than trying to get rid of the damn things.

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    Damnit Anonymous, you beat me to it!

    Yes DH, I'm a lazy bastard.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    Berenerd (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhhh! i smell a trademark case coming up...or copyright...or perhaps RIAA will want some royalties

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Johnny, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:43am

    Do they really need safe harbor protection...

    for stating a fact? The only way the hotels could win anything is if bedbugregistry.com is spreading lies. Telling someone that the hotel is infested with bedbugs, when in fact it is, is not against the law and there is nothing the hotels can do about it.

    Something like this shouldn't even get to the judge, much less the courtroom. And threatening to sue just for the sake of scare tactics should be just as illegal as threatening bodily harm.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    That'll be....a million space bucks....

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    I have two Space Babes and a rocket ship.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    A million!? That's unfair!

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    Unfair to the payor, but not to the payee. But you're going to pay it...or else....

    (okay seriously, this has to end, because I could do the whole movie....)

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    jfgilbert (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Do they really need safe harbor protection...

    The web site only publishes reports by other people. The owner of the site cannot check all posts for veracity, that's why they need safe harbor protection. The responsibility for the veracity of a report is with the author, not with the site owner, that's what section 230 is about.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Michael, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:21am

    Re: Do they really need safe harbor protection...

    Nope.

    Actually, bedbugregistry.com could be full of posting that are complete lies added just because patrons were not happy - or even postings from competing hotel owners and they would still have no case.

    Since bedbugregistry.com does not post anything, it is the users that would have to be the targets of any lawsuit - that is the point of section 230 - to place the blame on the person that writes the comment rather than the website that that are writing the comment on.

    Lawyers that bring lawsuits against the wrong party should be disbarred.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    A million!? That's unfair!

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: These Hotel Owners

    Oops! Sorry for the duplicate! Hit the refresh button on the wrong screen. my bad!

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    RD, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    Re: This is actually kind of important

    "I can tell you that exterminating bed bugs is intrusive, expensive, long, and arduous."

    Yes it is, they are very persistent and hard to get rid of. One thing that helps tremendously is a product called diatomaceous earth. Its a fine powder that, once the bugs walk through it (the only drawback, they HAVE to traverse it at some point) it cuts up their exoskeletons and kills them within 48 hours. Use a paint brush to spread it thinly around your bed area especially, and any other area you see signs. Also, if you are able, wrap your mattresses in plastic and seal them. That cuts 90% of the infestation right there, as they tend to try to breed and feed within the mattress. Good luck, they are disgusting creatures and more than just pests.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    New York has always been an armpit of a place. The right armpit of America. The only city with cockroaches bigger than rats.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Safe Harbor?

    Safe harbor protection applies to service providers who cannot be expected to have any control over the content posted or exchanged by others. The service that they provide is sufficiently large and diverse as to warrant safe-harbor protection.

    The bedbug registry site has established itself as an authority on bedbug infestations and the owners have invited contributors without any oversight. Given that the site is small and focussed on only one subject, the safe-harbor defense may not apply.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: Safe Harbor?

    [Citation Needed]

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    duffmeister (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re: Safe Harbor?

    Is safe harbor protection really that specific? If so anyone could argue it doesn't apply to anyone......


    I am now off to research safe harbor provisions in law.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    bob, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    It's all a Matter of Degree

    infestation
    1. To inhabit or overrun in numbers or quantities large enough to be harmful, threatening, or obnoxious.

    I would say one bed bug bite would be obnoxious.
    Who here is old enough to remember bed legs put in kerosene so as a mote was created to keep them off the beds?

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    Angry Puppy (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Bedbugs are Here

    My neighbor runs a pest control company and told me that practically every hotel in North America has bedbugs. Most hotels regularly spray and eliminate the pests, but hotel guests continuously bring them back in.

    I'm guessing the complaining hotels are the ones that do not spend much on exterminators.

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Re: Safe Harbor?

    Safe harbor protection applies to service providers who cannot be expected to have any control over the content posted or exchanged by others. The service that they provide is sufficiently large and diverse as to warrant safe-harbor protection.

    That is simply not true. Section 230 (and the associated case law) says absolutely nothing about the size of the service, or even whether or not it is possible to control the content. In fact, it says the opposite.

    The bedbug registry site has established itself as an authority on bedbug infestations and the owners have invited contributors without any oversight. Given that the site is small and focussed on only one subject, the safe-harbor defense may not apply.

    Can you point to a single bit of caselaw that supports that claim? There is none.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    Good point. Personally, I am more pissed that the hotels are not taking issue with the ACCURACY of these reports, which means that they must be true.

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Bedbugs are Here

    Hotel guests bringing them in? I think not. I have looked in my home, and I haven't been able to find these pests. I'm also NOWHERE NEAR what you would call a 'neat freak' either.

     

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


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