[Air-l] MySpace sued again ...

burkx006 at umn.edu burkx006 at umn.edu
Thu Jan 18 19:29:52 PST 2007


On Jan 18 2007, Hugemusic wrote:

>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 ...

These kind of lawsuits are fairly common against media/publishers -- not 
just the "metal-inspired" teen suicide cases, but the "copycat" cases 
(e.g., the Olivia N. case in which the plaintiff, who was raped with a 
plumber's helper, alleged that the perpetrators got the idea from a 
television show and so sued the broadcaster), and the "forum for crime" 
cases (e.g., the series of cases against Soldier of Fortune magazine for 
attempted murders from the ads for hit men in they run in their classified 
section).

This most closely resembles the Soldier of Fortune type cases.

Generally the plaintiffs lose (in the U.S. at least) either on First 
Amendment grounds, or for lack of causation -- that is, providing a forum 
for advocacy or exchange of criminal speech is not a proximate cause of 
resulting criminal activity.

>Time will tell ... thoughts? predictions?

If MySpace wants to tough it out, they probably win on summary judgment. 
But as you point out that creates bad PR. The better business strategy is 
to install safety features and/or settle.

-- 
Dan L. Burk
Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly Professor
University of Minnesota Law School
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55455
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