[Air-l] MySpace sued again ...

Jennifer Stromer-Galley jstromer at albany.edu
Thu Jan 18 18:39:22 PST 2007

I can't help but think that My Space, like an ISP or the telephone company, is
a neutral carrier of content and therefore not responsible for what happens in
that space.

Now, I should say I am NOT a policy-wonk on new communication technology, and
my last brush with policy on this was in, oh, 1999, and I suspect things have

For those of you who are knowledgeable about policy: Why isn't My Space viewed
as a common carrier, and hence not responsible for the content that is shown
on its pages? Or is it, and this whole lawsuit is just, well, B.S.?

~Jenny Stromer-Galley

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication, SS 340
University at Albany, SUNY
1400 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
jstromer at albany.edu

> Possibly, but I think there's a few significant differences.
> In the MySpace cases, a crime was committed by someone against a minor.
> We're not talking about "metal-inspired" teen  suicide ... perhaps more
> analogous with the record company that sold music to the Columbine
> teenagers, but I don't recall that claim being made ... at least, not in
> court ...
> Also, it's not just about these court cases ... there are no numbers
> mentioned in that story, but let's assume the complainants are after another
> $30Mill each ... Does anyone know the payout figure from the first case? Has
> it settled?  Murdoch only paid $580Mill for MySpace in the first place, so
> adding $150Mill to that looks bad for the bottom line ... maybe they can
> afford it, maybe not ... there's also the compliance cost, which they have
> already tried to meet (apparently).
> But it's also about the political pressure this will generate.  Parents
> forming anti-MySpace lobby groups - getting the entire legislative framework
> arround the protections that a social netwok provider must comply with
> changed.  The US government is traditionally loathe to interefere with big
> business and their practices, but they also traditionally very quickly and
> quite irrationally respond to any suggestion that children might be abused
> (see Dana Boyd on moral panics:
> http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/01/10/a_few_more_thou.html)
> ... ignoring children in danger is a sure-fire vote loser and these examples
> give the campaigners a clear rallying point ... and they're in several
> states ...
> Didn't I read something the other day about crimes being committed in the
> Second Life environment??
> Time will tell ... thoughts? predictions?
> Cheers,
> Hughie

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