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Two Developments in the Law of MySpace

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By Kevin Fayle on July 02, 2009 10:01 PM

Two important things happened around MySpace in the past few days.  First, a California appellate court ruled in favor of the company in a consolidated negligence action based on allegations that the company didn't do enough to protect underage users.

Second, a federal district court judge in Los Angeles threw out Lori Drew's conviction for accessing computers without authorization.  That case arose out of the notorious events surrounding Megan Meier's tragic suicide.  Prosecutors allege that Drew, the mother of one of Megan's peers, used the social networking site to create a fictional teen boy to humiliate Megan. 

The appellate ruling relied on Section 230 to find that the plaintiff's claims were based on communications between users.  As such, they were prohibited by Section 230's immunity for interactive service providers.

The federal district court judge in the Drew case held that if Drew "is to be found guilty of illegally accessing computers, anyone who has ever violated the social networking site's terms of service would be guilty of a misdemeanor. That would be unconstitutional, he said."  The judge made his ruling tentative until he issues the written order.  The prosecutors announced their plans to appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit.

All in all, quite a week for MySpace jurisprudence.

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