Section 230

This looks rather disgusting, but that’s just my (non-actionable) opinion.

As online review sites like Yelp and social-media sites like Twitter continue to grow, free speech issues related to these online services will continue to proliferate. A contentious case currently pending in federal court down in Florida raises a host of interesting issues about the scope of online free speech.

The plaintiff company, Roca Labs, sells a product that you consume for weight-control purposes. If this makes you think of delicious almond roca, think again. Components used by Roca Labs in its diet products include “Guar Gum, Konjac, Inulin, Beta Glucan, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, [and] Vitamins B6, B12, C.” If you don’t recognize most of the ingredients in something you’re consuming, that’s usually not a good sign.

Does the thought of eating that goo make you want to gag? Well, Roca Labs wants to gag you….

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Sarah Jones

The issue here is really narrow, it’s about whether or not TheDirty.com is entitled to immunity under the [Communications Decency Act]. [Nik] Richie reviews all the posts. He’s said he’s looking specifically for things that will cause a rise. He wants to put dirt out on the Internet about private people.

Chris Roach, lawyer for Sarah Jones, the former Bengals cheerleader and high school teacher who won a $338,000 judgment after being defamed on Richie’s gossip site, TheDirty.com, commenting on the reasons why he believes Richie will not receive immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Roach went on to note that his client does not have chlamydia or gonorrhea.

(In 2009, Richie allegedly wrote a post entitled, “The Dirty Bengals Cheerleader,” asking, “Why are high school teachers freaks in the sack?” In that post, a commenter suggested Jones slept with all the members of the Bengals team and had STDs. Jones went on to be convicted on sexual misconduct charges for sleeping with an underage student, and now plans to marry him.)

Boo. Boo. BOO.

Joe Lieberman, the Senator from Connecticut who has evolved into a cartoon-level villain on the left, is at it again. The Daily Kos reports that Lieberman is proposing to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. For you commenters who don’t know what Section 230 is, I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain it to people who benefit from the freedom that it provides and then question the manner in which it provides it.

Seriously though, if Lieberman has his way, websites could be held responsible for the filthy, disgusting, misogynist, racist, and often quite funny comments left on their posts. This could lead sites to crack down on or eliminate anonymous commenting.

If you think I’m going down so somebody can make a walrus joke about the wrong person, you’ve got another thing coming….

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As some of you may have heard, Pinterest is the newest social media craze sweeping the nation. The idea behind the site is to create a virtual pin board of cool crap you find on the internet and want to share with your friends.

I know, it’s totally new and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before!

The site is still in its infancy, but it’s already facing its first backlash/potential legal controversy, a problem kicked off a few weeks ago by a lawyer-slash-photographer who thought she noticed something fishy about the startup’s terms of service policy. Namely, how does a company protect itself when it’s arguably built on the premise of users sharing art they don’t own? Pass the buck, of course…

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When I was a kid, my father leaned across the dinner table and whispered to me, “Never ask a woman’s age or weight.” He then stole a glance at my mother, who was busy shoveling mashed potatoes into her maw, and sighed. I could never tell whether my dad was trying to offer the wisdom of the ages or making a statement about the tyranny of manners, the clichés they birth, and the way in which politeness can imprison a good man in a loveless relationship that inevitably leads to you watching your 400-pound wife shovel potatoes back like she was auditioning for The Biggest Loser.

And so it was that the Internet Movie Database, aka IMDb, found itself under attack for revealing an actress’s age and “real Asian name.” Kash detailed the charges last October. A few weeks ago, we noted that the woman would have to put up (her name) or shut up (legally speaking).

Well, I don’t want to waste any more of your precious time. The grand reveal is finally here.

After the jump, pictures of an attractive Asian woman….

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It’s said that it’s rude to ask a woman her age. In fact, it’s only rude to ask women 30 and over about their digits. It’s far worse, however, to ask a woman with decades under her belt for her age and then to publish it for the world to see. An actress in Texas says it wasn’t just rude but financially costly for her when the movie database IMDB publicized her nearly over-the-hill age in 2008. Cue, Robert Murtaugh.

The Hollywood Reporter has a copy of the actress’s complaint against Amazon.com, which owns the Internet Movie Database, in which she alleges that everyone’s favorite website for figuring out who-that-guy-in-that-one-movie-was-and-what-was-that-other-movie-he-was-in-with-that-girl screwed her over after she signed up for a Pro IMDb account. After entering credit card information and personal details, including her birthdate, to start the account, her age all of a sudden appeared on her public profile page, “revealing to the public that Plaintiff is many years older than she looks,” according to her humble complaint.

Age isn’t just a number, says her counsel, “Internet lawyer” John Dozier, but a $1,075,000 number…

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Craigslist services section earlier this week

The “censored” box that Craigslist put over the “Adult Services” section of its website may have been a last hurrah before capitulating to demands from attorneys general that the section be eliminated. Today, the censored box disappeared from the site.

The “adult services” section is gone, but two new services sections appeared: “cycle” and “marine.” Their offerings are not as exciting as the now-disappeared lusty section. There are multiple ads for jet ski repair in the new marine section in New York, and a “massage special” in the cycle section. It looks like would-be prostitutes are going to have to work on their bike and boat repair skills.

The law — i.e., Section 230 — was on Craigslist’s side. Why did it capitulate?

Read on at Forbes.com.