Courts Uphold MySpace Liability Immunity

Handing MySpace another in a string of courtroom victories, a federal court in Texas has thrown out another lawsuit against the site stemming from sex abuse allegations.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Schell in the eastern district of Texas ruled last month that the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes sites from liability for user-generated content.

MySpace has been sued at least nine times by families of teens who were victimized by predators who contacted them through the site, but has not yet lost any case to have reached a conclusion. The site's most significant victory came last year, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit by the parents of a teen who was assaulted by someone she met on the site.

Families have tried to argue that the Communications Decency Act does not protect MySpace on the theory that the site isn't being sued for content, but for failing to implement safety measures. But courts have rejected that distinction and found that the families were actually trying to hold MySpace accountable based on material posted by users.

The case that Schell dismissed last month is known only as "Julie Doe IX," because it was the ninth lawsuit filed in Texas against the site. Little information was ever made public about the underlying facts.

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