Thursday, February 15, 2007

News Corp. Not Liable for Sexual Assault by Predator Who Met Victim on MySpace

A federal judge yesterday formally dismissed a $30 million lawsuit against News Corp. by the parents of a 13 year old sexual assault victim who met the alleged predator online on MySpace. This case, which has been followed closely, is notable according to Dawn Chmielewski of the Los Angeles Times because it is "the first time a federal courts has extended to social networking sites the same broad free-speech protections granted to Internet Service Providers" (the court applied the 1996 Communications Decency Act, in which Congress concludes that ISPs cannot be held liable for content posted on their sites by others).

The court also ruled that MySpace should not be punished for the failure of its voluntary safety measures, an important part of the ruling because many Internet sites have feared that the adoption of any such measures would impose an absolute duty against them that could lead to further potential liability.