Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It'll Be A No Go To Sue Go Daddy

The Detroit Free Press: Women sue Go Daddy over nude photos on revenge-porn site

If ever 'twas a case of an article being useless without the pictures in question this is it.

Go Daddy has been named lead defendant in a Texas lawsuit filed by 17 women whose nude photos were published without their permission on a "revenge porn" website hosted by the Scottsdale-based company.

The lawsuit exposes an obscure Internet pornography niche that often involves jilted ex-boyfriends posting nude or semi-nude cellphone pictures of their former girlfriends, with each photo usually accompanied by personal information such as the woman's name and city of residence.

All prurient interest aside, suing Go Daddy is a No Go.

The only good and constitutional portion of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, is Section 230, and 230's subpart (c) provides:

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

In short, Go Daddy isn't liable for any damages for the publication of materials made by one of its hosted websites, plain and simple. Go Daddy isn't the publisher and can't be liable for the acts of a website that it simply hosts.

This is hardly new law. The leading case on this, Zeran v AOL, dates to 1997 and held:

"[L]awsuits seeking to hold a service liable for its exercise of a publisher's traditional editorial functions – such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, postpone or alter content – are barred."

The lawyer who pulled Go Daddy into the case, on dubious civil conspiracy grounds related to the publication of the perverse pics for the purpose of procuring a deep pocket for a payout probably should have known better and practiced law in accordance with precedent.


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