Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We are One of the Top 50 Internet Law Blogs

I am honored and privileged to point out that this blog has recently been named as one of the top 50 internet law blogs. Please check out the list as there are many terrific internet law bloggers out there offering a whole range of opinions and ideas. This is an exciting time for internet attorneys given the wild west nature of the web and the law governing its use. Many thanks to Kelly Sonora and her efforts to illuminate internet law issues.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Communications Decency Act Section 230 Immunity

Whenever I am asked my opinion as to the future of the internet and where it is headed, I inevitably bring up the Communications Decency Act and Section 230 of the act which provides immunity to websites for the bad acts of their users. The competing interests are very compelling. On the one hand, immunity has allowed ground breaking innovation and, without it, we wouldn't have web 2.0 and sites such as Flickr, Myspace, Facebook and Youtube. Such sites would be mired in constant litigation for the bad acts of their users. Web 2.0 interaction and collaboration may cease.

On the other hand, anonymous and defamatory attacks are destroying the lives and reputations of thousands of individuals and small businesses online. My practice handles internet defamation cases every single day. Every employer or customer seems to "google" employees and businesses these days - and a certain percentage of the public is always going to believe outright lies, no matter how outrageous or anonymous.

I'd be interested to know where readers fall on this issue. One thing is for certain, when I am asked about Communications Decency Act reform, my one and only response to both website owners and defamed individuals and businesses is to write your congress person. Reform is coming, it is just a matter of who benefits most.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Victoria's Secret Bra Class Action?

Class action law firms may have a new favorite, implausible class action lawsuit to snicker at. A recent class action was filed against Victoria's Secret alleging that the iconic company's bras contain formaldehyde. Now, I don't dispute that this may or may not be true and that harm may or may not have been suffered. But, I don't get on the surface how this class could possibly be certified. It would seem to me that the claims and harm suffered would be way too disparate and unique for class status. I could be wrong, in the meantime, this may become my favorite case since the Barbie v. Bratz battle royal in Riverside.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Barbie Seeks Return of Bratz

Barbie v. Bratz, the ongoing 4 year legal battle royal out in the desert, aka Riverside, CA, took another recent turn. Los Angeles business lawyers have been following this case for years. The latest chapter pertains to Mattel's request that MGA not only stop selling Bratz dolls, but that MGA return all Bratz doll inventory to Mattel. Could make for an interesting Christmas shopping season, although, Judge Stephen Larson isn't likely to decide this issue until Santa has made his rounds.

Craigslist Cracks Down on Hookers

Craigslist recently announced that it will actively seek to prevent prostitution ads from appearing on its site. The company recently came to an agreement with a number of state Attorney Generals to make it more difficult for hookers to offer their wares online. Now, Craigslist will require any adult services ad to provide identifying details, such as credit card and phone numbers. Craigslist will also charge for any adult ads. This is ostensibly to enable law enforcement to track down and jail flesh peddlers and their Johns. Craigslist also agreed to pursue litigation against a number of internet service providers who have previously aided sex peddlers in circumventing Craigslist's own rules regarding adult ads.

Internet attorneys such as myself may be interested to see what kind of revenue streams Craigslist can squeeze out of this. I also wonder if this will put a dent in Craigslist traffic, seeing as how prostitution and escort ads seemed to drive a large chunk of traffic to the site. Constitutional lawyers may have an interest in this from a First Amendment perspective and commercial speech. We'll see how it shakes out.