[Air-l] MySpace sued again ...

burkx006 at umn.edu burkx006 at umn.edu
Thu Jan 18 19:41:49 PST 2007

On Jan 18 2007, Jennifer Stromer-Galley wrote:

> 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.

True in general for some activities, but not others. They will be treated 
somewhat differently depending on whether the claim sounds in libel, 
copyright, criminal pornography, or something else. They can be required to 
react to content on the system, but generally cannot be required to police 
content on the system.

> 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? 

MySpace is not a common carrier, nor are other ISPs/OSPs. They are not 
regulated as a common carrier, and are not required to provide services 
(carriage) to anyone who requests service.

>Or is it, and this whole lawsuit is just, well, B.S.?

The lawsuit is largely BS. MySpace is a media distributor for First 
Amendment purposes, and cannot be required to screen or purge content 
unless they have actual knowledge that the content passing over their 

They are also almost certainly not the proximate (legal) cause of any 
harmful activity that occurs off-line.

That is not the standard outside the U.S., BTW, since no one else has our 
First Amendment jurisprudence.

Dan L. Burk
Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly Professor
University of Minnesota Law School
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55455
voice: 612-626-8726
fax: 612-625-2011
bits: burkx006 at umn.edu

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