8.30.2005

Blogger sued over readers' comments (WSJ.com)

Worried about their own liability, bloggers are "buzzing" about a lawsuit brought by an Internet company against a blogger for readers' comments posted to his site, reports the Wall Street Journal Online in an Aug. 31 story. Aaron Wall runs a blog (SEOBook.com) on search engine optimization - how companies get themselves to appear higher in searches at Google, Yahoo, etc. He was sued in Nevada earlier this month by Traffic-Power.com for publishing trade secrets and "false and defamatory information" about the company on his blog. Some readers of Mr. Wall's blog have posted complaints of unprofessional business practices by Traffic-Power.com or that its tools were ineffective. Mr. Wall himself had criticized the company on his blog prior to the lawsuit.

The federal Communications Decency Act (1996) protects providers of computer services from liability for content posted by others. In 2003 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Web site operator can post material from others without liability for content. A technology law expert feels that the Decency Act can apply to bloggers but the Act does not protect the posting of intellectual property, and trade secrets may fall under "intellectual property."

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4 Comments:

Blogger Csutoras said...

I think you should be able to comment what ever you like. Aaron is a widely respected SEO and would not slander a company. If someone comments on his blog it should be the commenter that is sued if anyone.

Weird News

11/07/2006  
Anonymous Adam Audette said...

This is old news, but something recently happened related to this: an SEO was being sued by a former client for poor rankings (actually it's a bit more complicated than that). Since there was no precedent in place, the SEO could have set one with his case by countersuing. Turns out in the end, however, that it made more sense to settle out of court. Google "seo lawsuit" more specifics on this from LED Digest.

I think we'll see more of this as blogging and SEO (and related fields) get more competitive. There is real money at stake now, it's big business, and most of the markets are crowded. That gives people motivation to sue.

In the case of SEObook and Traffic Power, all I can say is the Internet is wickedly efficient at creating buzz and momentum - for or against a brand. Aaron Wall is a highly respected guy in the search industry and TP really messed up the way they went after him.

12/15/2006  
Anonymous Rugs said...

This could be a very serious issue for the blogging community. Lawsuits for what commenter say could have a very chilling effect on the interaction that is so important to blogging. Because of the time and expense involved these suits are often settled quietly. I hope that is not the case here. I hope there is a decisive decision on behalf of bloggers.

2/20/2007  
Anonymous Clan Themes said...

"I think you should be able to comment what ever you like. Aaron is a widely respected SEO and would not slander a company. If someone comments on his blog it should be the commenter that is sued if anyone."

Most blogs have a clause saying something to the effect that the owner can be held responsible for comments. Its hard to control what everyone writes if you have a large scale of content and allow comments from anyone. I wish they would sue me. Look at what it has done for his site.

8/17/2007  

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