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michigan law specifically outlaws revenge porn

New Michigan Law Against ‘Revenge Porn’

Although issues related to sending sexually explicit photos via a mobile phone or other device is something many people associate more often with teens, the practice can lead to trouble for adults, too.

In recent years many cases have appeared in which a person has shared images with a significant other and then when the relationship ends the private image is shared with others as a means of hurting the other person.

Cases like this have come to be known as “revenge porn” or “cyber revenge,” and until recently, Michigan prosecutor’s have had a difficult time prosecuting the cases because there hasn’t been a law directly dealing with such cases.

Last year one such case popped up in Michigan’s Charlevoix County. The defendant in the case was ultimately charged with one count of unlawful posting of a message, a two-year charge.

However a new Michigan state law that Gov. Rick Snyder signed recently now specifically criminalizes the distribution of sexually-explicit materials intended to threaten, coerce, or intimidate.

In a news release issued last week Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof noted that revenge porn cases often occur after a break-up, when one partner distributes intimate material sent during the couple’s relationship.

Under the new law, a person who distributes sexually explicit materials with the intent to threaten, coerce, or intimidate another person faces a $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail. A second offense can result in a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

“Our office is pleased to see the bipartisan support these bills have received,” said Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Justis. “It’s another tool in our toolbox to respond to the tremendous rise in the use of social media to engage in domestic abuse and cyber harassment.”

State legislators have tried since 2014 to pass a law targeting revenge porn or non-consensual pornography. With the new law, Michigan joins 27 other states with statutes specifically designed to prevent and respond to revenge porn.

The bills were sponsored by Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, and Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“The new law balances our cherished freedoms of speech with the need to address behavior intended solely to harm another person, often seriously and irreversibly,” said Justis, who primarily handles cases involving domestic violence and criminal sexual conduct. “Revenge porn is about control and abuse, and the law targets only those who intend to engage in control and abuse.”

“It will also help shift the focus away from innocent victims, who are often blamed for their own victimization, to those who commit a serious crime,” he said.

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Revenge porn not ‘free expression’

Revenge porn not free expression

Last week, the country was outraged by a loophole in Oklahoma law that allowed a rapist to walk because the incident involved oral sex upon an intoxicated girl. A few days later, the Legislature pushed through another sexually-charged measure that probably already should have been on the books, but wasn’t.

By the time you read this, Gov. Mary Fallin may have signed into law Senate Bill 1257, which will make the dissemination of so-called “revenge pornography” a misdemeanor. The bill doesn’t ban publication of explicit images per se, though many of the staunchly religious at the statehouse would do so if that pesky First Amendment didn’t prevent them. SB 1257 prohibits the use of such material with the intent of harassing or humiliating its subject – which most of the time is a woman.

There have been many cases where an individual has allowed her partner to take racy photos either of her as an individual or as part of a couple or group. Then later, the couple has divorced or separated, and the bitter man gets back at his former lover by broadcasting the private images all over the Internet. Sometimes men are the victims.

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what could happen. A prospective employer Googles the woman’s name, and up pop the private pictures. That might not be an issue for some employers, but for the more traditional among them, the phrase “moral turpitude” comes to mind. An otherwise highly qualified woman could be denied a job for which she is ideally suited just because of a “mistake” she made years ago, even if that mistake didn’t involve breaking the law.

SB 1257 makes it a crime to disseminate an “identifiable” image of someone who is nude or engaged in sexual conduct, if the image was gleaned in a way that a “reasonable person” would understand it was private; and if the image was made public with the intent to “harass, intimidate, or coerce” the subject, who clearly didn’t intend the photo for public consumption. Upon conviction, the perpetrator could be jailed by the county for up to a year, and fined up to $1,000. A judge can also order the photo’s eradication, if possible.

The law won’t stop everyone from taking revenge in this way, but it might slow down many people who would act on the spur of the moment, then later regret it.

The most ardent free speech advocates may cry foul over SB 1257, but the constitutional right to “free expression” is not absolute. In other words, you should not have the right to express yourself in a way that will destroy someone else’s life. Even the media must take into account the questions of libel, defamation of character, and invasion of privacy.

With the latter two standards, even if the material is accurate or true – in other words, not libelous – that doesn’t necessarily make it fair game. Lawsuits can erupt when publication of material is deemed to cross those lines. If the professional media must adhere to these standards, then in these days of widespread Internet access and social media interactions, the general public should adhere to them, too.

Revenge never ends well, and it should be eschewed, both in public and in private.

Please note: Parts of this story were removed because we felt the comments were victim blaming.

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Sex education key to preventing revenge porn as 30% of cases involve under 19

For that first time, police numbers have exposed that around 30% of documented incidents of revenge porn concerned young adults under the age of 19.  In the months since April 2015, when it was criminalized, a Freedom of Information request by the BBC has revealed that over 1,000 incidents were reported to the police.

Revenge porn is the act of releasing private videos or pictures of sexual nature without the spouse or ex-partner’s permission.

17 -year-old Daniel Perry killed himself after he was blackmailed over erotic pictures he’d published online.  Additional victims have talked within the aftermath of the crime of the suicidal thoughts. In three cases, children as young as 11 were the victims.

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teens problems - revenge porn victims

Other victims have spoken of their suicidal feelings in the aftermath of the crime.

While the three youngest ­victims were only 11, the oldest were in their 60s.

Helplines say that members of law enforcement, teachers and social workers in their 20s and 30s are just as likely to fall prey as naive teenagers.

Experts say it can also be part of the “coercive control” exerted by manipulative and violent partners over their victims.

“This is a large and growing problem, and is causing huge amounts of harm to victims,” says former Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert, who campaigned for the legislation which made revenge porn an offense.

“Too many perpetrators managed to persuade themselves that they were doing nothing wrong because it wasn’t illegal, and that has now changed.

“However, legislation can only ever be part of the solution – what we need is much better consent-based sex and relationships education, so that people are clear that this kind of humiliating behavior in unacceptable. Social change is the best way to protect people.”

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Social media has made bullying among teenagers even more invasive for victims

An NSPCC spokesman said: “It is shocking that children as young as 11 are becoming ­victims of revenge porn – and underlines the urgent need for action by social media sites to improve safety.

“Young people also need to be aware of the serious risks of sending explicit material or ­photos of themselves. Once an image is sent there is no control over where it will end up or who will see it.”

Sarah Green, director of the campaign group End Violence Against Women, said that women’s charities have been aware for some time that revenge porn “often forms part of a pattern of domestic and sexual violence”.

“The threat of it can be used to coercively control victims, just as the threat of withdrawing access to children can be used to manipulate and harass,” she said.

“We were delighted when the Government brought in this law but we think the protection of anonymity, as there is for victims in other sex crimes, would make people more likely to come forward.

“We also think that compulsory sex education, challenging the culture in schools which regards sexually active girls as ‘slags’ and ‘whores’ is essential. The concept of consent extends to spreading sexual images too.

Alamy
revenge porn victims deserve anonymity

“The comparison we would draw is with drink-driving, when a change in the law changed ­attitudes over time. It’s not the case that our internet culture somehow makes revenge porn inevitable.”

Carolyn Bunting, general manager of internet safety body Internet Matters, said: “The fact more than three out of 10 ­incidents of so-called revenge appears to involve under 19 year olds brings to the fore how important it is for children to be protected online so they’re able to explore the digital world ­without fear.

“There will no doubt be many more who are victims and have not reported it to the police and are suffering in silence.

“Our main focus is to help parents stop their children falling into this trap in the first place, through communication and education.

“It’s always a tricky conversation to have, but we’d encourage parents to talk to their children about the danger of sending explicit images.”

 

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Man charged with posting “revenge porn” says ex-girlfriend is lying

RICHMOND, Va. — A Richmond man has been charged under the revenge porn statute but he claims his ex-girlfriend is actually the one seeking revenge on him.

Twenty-three-year-old Corey Alexander said he got quite a surprise last week to find out from his probation officer that he was being hit with another charge: unlawful dissemination of an image, also known as revenge porn.

“It hurt me real bad, man,” said Alexander Monday. “I want to cry, but I can’t.”

Alexander said his ex is drumming up charges that are more than a year old, and CBS 6 legal experts said he may have a good defense.

Corey Alexander

“She sent the videos to me and we agreed,” Alexander said. “I’ve got proof. I’m innocent.”

“The revenge porn statute is designed to prohibit people from posting online to intimidate or harass,” said CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone.

Alexander said he did neither. He points out the videos were not posted to social media, but to an X-rated porn site where you can upload amateur videos.

Alexander showed CBS 6 where his ex-girlfriend sent the videos to him via email. He said he believes the charge has surfaced now, more than a year later, for one reason:

“She’s jealous because I’ve moved on,” he said.

Stone said if what Alexander is saying is the truth, then he has a solid defense.

“It looks like she waited and took a warrant out and if she really doesn’t have an explanation for that, then that’s something a judge will take into consideration.”

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Man ordered to attend counseling after revenge porn confession

Man ordered to seek counseling after posting revenge porn

Revenge porn landed a New Jersey man in mental-health counseling.

Christopher Morcos, 23, of Passaic, was sentenced to five years’ probation and must talk with a counselor after pleading guilty to posting nude shots of his ex, along with her personal information, on a porn site.

Morcos and the woman dated for two years before they split in November 2014. Three months later, she got a strange text, she said.

“I had received a text message from a random number saying that they had seen me on my page on Pornhub.com,” said the 20-year-old woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

She  later found the porn page, which included her full name, phone number and address, she said Morcos pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week.

http://nypost.com/2016/03/27/revenge-porn-confession-leads-young-man-to-counseling/

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Authorities must be swifter in the crack down of ‘revenge porn’

The case in point involved the murder of a female high-school student in Mitaka, Tokyo, in 2013. After the case was referred back from a higher court and retried under the lay-judge system, the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court recently sentenced a 23-year-old man to 22 years in prison.

Out of his lingering attachment to the girl and resentment towards her, the man not only killed the girl but had repeatedly posted images of her on the internet. Besides murder charges, he was accused of other offenses, including violating the law banning child prostitution and pornography.

With the images exposed to an indefinitely large number of people, it was difficult to remove them. It was reasonable for the ruling to condemn the man’s conduct as “an extremely vicious crime that impaired the dignity of the victim”.

Prosecutors initially decided not to indict the man in connection with the posting of the images because the victim’s parents were concerned that their daughter’s dignity could be harmed if the man’s actions were treated as a criminal case.

The latest retrial was preceded by a different lay-judge trial regarding the murder case. The ruling handed down in the original trial sentenced the man to 22 years jail, referring to the vicious nature of his action in posting the images. But the Tokyo High Court overruled that, saying, “Posting of the images was not subject to indictment but may have been taken into account when assessing the culpability [of the accused].”

Prosecutors later brought a supplementary indictment against the man after receiving a criminal complaint from the girl’s family for suspected violation of the anti-child prostitution and pornography law. As it turned out, the decision handed down in the latest trial was the same as the one at the original trial regarding assessment of the man’s culpability. The girl’s family may find it difficult to accept the latest judgement.

The sequence of unusual developments in the case illustrates the difficulties involved in trying cases involving sex crimes.

As a result of the Mitaka murder case, the Revenge Porn Prevention Law in Tokyo was enforced in November 2014. It allows imprisonment of up to three years and other punishment for anyone who has exposed sexually explicit images to public view without permission of people involved.

Last year, the police authorities received 1,143 requests for consultation in connection with revenge porn. Many such requests concerned cases involving persons being threatened to “have their images disclosed”. In 188 cases, the police were told that images had actually been disclosed.

Last year, the police took action in connection with 276 cases involving such offenses as intimidation and violation of the revenge porn prevention law. To prevent damage from such crimes, we need to increasingly crack down on these offenses.

Once an image is posted on the Internet, it is highly probable it will be repeatedly duplicated. To stem the spread of images, it is indispensable to take quick action, such as submitting a request for website administrators to delete them.

It is also important to make widely known the dangers involved in having such pictures taken without much thought and sending them to others.

In the Mitaka case, the high-school girl and others had sought advice from the local police authorities about the man’s stalking behavior. However, the police failed to prevent her tragic death due to such factors as a lack of coordination among the police stations in their jurisdiction. The murder case has left an important lesson about how to deal with stalkers.

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Revenge porn purveyor labelled ‘worst man on internet’ has change of heart

Scott Breitenstein cashed in on the internet phenomenon of Revenge Porn.

A REVENGE porn mogul labelled “an internet terrorist” has announced an astonishing change of heart, removing thousands of nude photos from the web.

Scott Breitenstein spent years raking in cash from providing a platform for users to post sexually explicit, non-consensual images of their exes, alongside personal details.

The 45-year-old’s website was so prominent on Google, it would often be the first result if you searched a victim’s name, ruining their lives and even driving one woman to suicide.

But two weeks after filming a documentary with fusion.net, Breitenstein claimed he had finally seen the error of his ways, and has now removed all the naked photos from his website. The Ohio husband and father of one says the move has caused his monthly earnings from the website to drop from $1200 to just $200.

It’s a surprising about-face from a man who appears unrepentant in the documentary about collecting tens of thousands of dollars in settlements from victims who tried to get their photos removed.

In one scene, he shows the camera a naked picture of one a teacher, along with a picture of her school and her email address, one that will have now been inundated with sick, aggressive messages.

“Whore by night, elementary third grade schoolteacher by day,” reads the caption. The photo had been viewed 982,000 times.

While posting revenge porn is now illegal in some US states, running a website that hosts it remains legal. Victims, 90 per cent of whom are women, can file a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) complaint, forcing the site to disable the image.

But Breitenstein told fusion.net that if the victim didn’t file for an injunction within ten or 14 business days then he would reinstate the post. “That wastes our time, so what we do is we charge them $10,000.”

He did draw the line at child pornography, but demanded photographic ID from girls to prove they were under 18 before he would remove a post.

Adam Steinbaugh, an LA lawyer who specializes in revenge porn and has confronted Breitenstein in the past, told news.com.au: “I don’t believe Breitenstein’s change of heart for a moment. He took the oh-so-courageous step of deleting a category on his website, but still posts revenge porn in other categories and on other sites.

“Breitenstein’s story is a lot like other revenge porn site operators: they’re often impoverished, usually male, and they universally have little, if any, regard for the impact their sites have on people.

“Many, if not most, are victims of some form of domestic violence, as posting revenge porn is often part of a course of conduct intending to harass and intimidate the victim. When they do talk, what they say is uniform: they’re hurt and they’re scared.”

It’s a vile enterprise, but a lucrative one. Breitenstein, a former plumber and electrician, bought his website, ComplaintsBureau.com, from a previous owner, when it was solely a consumer rights forum.

Many of those posts were defamatory and had devastating effects on businesses with no right no reply. But when one user posted a naked photo of a cheating ex, traffic to the site went through the roof, and Breitenstein began making serious money from Google ads.

He faced all sorts of roadblocks. His site was dropped by several internet providers, before he began hosting it in France, and was hacked by a member of vigilante group Anonymous, who called him a disgrace to the country. He was once threatened at gunpoint.

Homeland Security even removed the site for a year after an extremist shared a photo of a beheading and Breitenstein stuck to his usual policy of ignoring requests for removal.

It was only when the documentary producers showed him a videoed message from revenge porn victim and Cyber Civil Rights Initiative campaigner Annmarie Chiarini that Breitenstein said he’d seen the light.

Unfortunately, he’s far from the only entrepreneur callously making money from humiliating women. This is big business, and the authorities have been slow to do much about it.

Rachel Lynn Craig, a 28-year-old from Virginia, became the first person to be charged with revenge porn in October 2014, when she was accused of posting an image of her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend naked on Facebook.

Hunter Moore, Breitenstein’s main competitor for the title of “most hated man on the internet”, was sentenced to just two years in prison in December for stealing and distributing thousands of naked images on his website, IsAnyoneUp.

The 29-year-old Californian was ordered to pay just $145 in restitution to the women whose lives he destroyed when he hacked their computers.

As for Breitenstein, lawyer Mr Steinbaugh alleges he has created some of his revenge porn copies himself, and reposted some content from other sites. If that’s the case, he would be liable. He could also potentially be prosecuted under various child pornography laws.

He’s keeping his head down for now, running ComplaintsBureau as a straightforward consumer advocacy site, along with ethically dubious but text-based STDRegistry, CheatersRUs and ReportMyEx. He says he might have to close his previously most successful website if business doesn’t improve.

He may be financially worse off, but at least he’s finally done the right thing.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

emma.reynolds@news.com.au /

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/revenge-porn-purveyor-labelled-worst-man-on-internet-has-change-of-heart/news-story/e72205349bc6012cc5b0ccefde7304ccRead the rest

Bill Cosby’s former attorney seeks to remove judge in Janice Dickinson defamation suit

Janice Dickinson says the lawyer defamed her when he defended Bill Cosby against allegations of rapeBill Cosby‘s former attorney wants to bar a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge from hearing a case in which model Janice Dickinson says the lawyer defamed her when he defended Cosby against allegations of rape.

On Monday, attorney Martin Singer filed court papers seeking to remove Judge Debra Katz Weintraub from the civil suit, which accuses both Singer and Cosby of defamation.

The filing comes roughly a month after the judge ruled both Cosby and his former attorney could be deposed by Dickinson’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom.

Singer did not state a reason in court papers as to why the judge should be removed. As a named defendant in the lawsuit, he can exercise the right to disqualify the jurist. If the petition is granted, the presiding judge will assign someone else to the case.

Cosby and Singer had been scheduled to answer questions about the case in November, but the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal ordered those depositions delayed after Cosby challenged the ruling.

Dickinson sued Cosby in May after Singer issued a statement calling her allegations “a lie.” Cosby also said that he did not rape Dickinson while in Lake Tahoe in 1982, as she has alleged.

Last month, attorney Gloria Allred, who is Bloom’s mother, deposed Cosby, 78, in a lawsuit filed by Judy Huth, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the comedian in the 1970s at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old.

After that deposition, Cosby replaced Singer with attorney Christopher Tayback.

In recent years, more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault or abuse.

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South Australian Government moves to make ‘revenge porn’ a crime

South Australia proposed revenge porn laws

DISTRIBUTING nude images of an ex-partner without their consent could soon be a crime under a State Government proposal.

Attorney-General John Rau has released draft laws which would criminalize “revenge porn” — the distribution of intimate and pornographic images without consent.

Mr Rau said the proposed laws would also address concerns about the potential for young people who “sext” — sending or receiving sexually explicit images — being listed on the Child Sex Offender Register.

Under the proposal, prosecutors and courts would be given added “flexibility” to consider the context of a young person’s behavior when deciding whether they should be listed on the Register.

The push to ban revenge pornography followed a recent in which intimate images of more than 400 Adelaide women were published on a US website.

Under the government’s proposal, – currently out for consultation – a person who threatens to distribute an invasive image or intends to “arouse a fear” that the threat would be carried out would be guilty of an offense, carrying a maximum penalty of $10,000 or two years jail, if the image was of a minor, or $5000 or 12 months jail if the image depicted an adult.

It would also increase the penalty for distributing an image of a minor to a maximum fine of$20,000 or four years jail, singling it out as an offense worthy of harsher penalty.

Mr Rau said what might start out as a bit of fun between two people may end up causing great distress and ruining lives.

“Young people in particular need to understand that if they take a naked selfie and share it with one person — that image might be shared with hundreds, possibly thousands of other people,” Mr Rau said.

“These images can all-too-often be used as a means of bullying and harassment, as once an image enters cyberspace, it is there forever.”

Mr Rau said while no minor had been listed on the Child Sex Offenders Register for a sexting related offense, there was potential for it to occur and that needed to be addressed.

“Whilst there will still be cases where a young person may be properly charged with an offense relating to child exploitation material, these new laws ensure there is flexibility for prosecutors and courts to consider the context of the behavior,” he said.

“This is something that the late Bob Such was a strong advocate for and I am pleased the government will be able to progress this issue when Parliament resumes in the new year.”

A discussion paper will be released in the new year.

The draft laws can be accessed online.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/south-australian-government-moves-to-make-revenge-porn-a-crime/news-story/1b98fd867079f2369979667110888a74… Read the rest

Google responsible for linking to websites containing defamatory content

Google responsible for linking to defamatory websites

The South Australian Supreme Court this week found that Google is legally responsible when its search results link to defamatory content on the web.

In this long-running case, Dr Janice Duffy has been trying for more than six years to clear her name and remove links to defamatory material when people search for her using Google.

The main culprit is the US based website Ripoff Reports, where people have posted negative reviews of Dr Duffy. Under United States law, defamation is very hard to prove, and US websites are not liable for comments made by their users.

Since it was not possible to get harmful or abusive comments removed from the source, Dr Duffy instead asked Google to remove the links from its search results. Google removed some of these links, but only from its Australian domain (google.com.au), and it left many of them active.

This latest court decision is a big win for Dr Duffy. The court found that once Google was alerted to the defamatory material, it was then under an obligation to act to censor its search results and prevent further harm to Dr Duffy’s reputation.

This case is not yet over. It now goes back to court on on November 3 to establish damages that Google may be ordered to pay. Google may also choose to appeal to the High Court.
Jurisdictional uncertainty

This case highlights a complex jurisdiction problem: this case was against Google Inc, a US company, not Google Australia. Dr Duffy lost a case against Google Australia several years ago, because the court found that the search giant’s Australian arm had no effective control over search results.

Essentially, transnational corporations like Google are able to structure their operations to benefit from US law, which provides them with much greater protection. Google’s Australian arm handles support and sales, but does not operate the search engine itself.

In the United States, the First Amendment protects publishers, unless the plaintiff can show that the publisher deliberately acted maliciously.

Search engines, website hosts, social networks and other internet operators have an additional layer of protection in the US under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This means that they are immune from lawsuits over content that is posted by third parties.

What this means is that foreign corporations can often ignore Australian judgements. It is practically impossible to enforce an Australian award for damages or an order that the search engine remove the content in US courts.

It also means that Australian technology companies are disadvantaged compared to foreign operators. The uncertainty and risks of our law mean that many companies are unable to operate in Australia, which is a real loss to Australian innovation and to local consumers.
Liability for linking

Australian courts face a difficult question when interpreting defamation law. The law is still unclear about when someone can be held responsible for the actions of an unrelated third party. This is only the latest in a series of cases against Google and others — and courts have come to conflicting decisions.

Defamation law protects the reputation of individuals. It is unlawful to publish false information that causes others to think less of another person. Historically, defamation law applies to everyone involved in publication — from journalists, to editors, publishers and even newsagents.

In the digital age, the boundaries of liability are very uncertain. Google has argued that it should not be treated as a “publisher” just because it indexes websites created by others. Google also argued that it should not be responsible for search results produced automatically by its search algorithms.

But the court here found that Google was liable for just linking to defamatory content. In this case, Google has no control over what people post on the Ripoff Report but it does help people find and access those comments.

Australians deserve to be protected by the law; it is dangerous to enable US law to dictate our standards. This threat of American legal hegemony is what worried the High Court so much in the 2002 Dow Jones v Gutnick case.

At the same time, it is dangerous to require private companies to decide what content is lawful and what content must be removed.

The trade-offs here are extremely difficult. On the one hand, where search engines and other intermediaries are not held to account, people are exposed to real harm by the continued availability of abusive and defamatory content.

On the other hand, holding these private companies responsible, particularly if they are forced to pay damages, means that they will often either leave the country or limit their risks by removing speech that may not actually be unlawful.
A faster, more legitimate process

Internet intermediaries like Google, Facebook and others clearly have some role to play in preventing the distribution of harmful abuse and defamatory material on their networks. But the law must also be sensitive to the real dangers of holding these companies liable.

More than anything, this case shows that we need better, more legitimate mechanisms for addressing complaints about harmful material online.

Ultimately, it’s likely that we need some compromise here — new procedures that do not take six years and millions of dollars in court costs to protect people’s rights, but that are able to efficiently, transparently and legitimately investigate complaints.

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