Congress decided more than a decade ago that Web site owners shouldn't face liability for defamatory material uploaded by users. Obviously, many companies that learn of questionable material will remove it on their own, under the theory that it violates their terms of service. But not always. And a court decision this week in a lawsuit involving Ripoff Report shows that sometimes material can remain live even when the posts have been found to be false and defamatory.
Private class-action lawsuits can go a long way towards compensating people who've been injured by faulty products and questionable business practices. But as a vehicle for crafting net neutrality regulations, such lawsuits leave a lot to be desired. Consider, Comcast has just agreed to pay up to $16 million to settle litigation over throttling peer-to-peer traffic, over the objections of several unhappy subscribers who brought suit.
Of all the suggestions for improving broadband access, the boldest -- and most controversial -- is the proposal that cable companies and telecoms should be required to share their lines. In October, Harvard's Berkman Center said in a report to the Federal Communications Commission that broadband services are better in countries with open-access policies than in the U.S. Not surprisingly, telecoms and cable companies -- who currently have a duopoly over broadband services in much of the country -- take issue with the report. This week, the Berkman Center struck back with an new paper stating that it has examined …
Photographer Anthony Citrano recently blogged that a photo of Demi Moore on the cover of December's W magazine had been altered -- and not for the better. "Apparently the clumsy Photoshop artist decided she was looking too strong in the cover shots -- and awkwardly chopped off part of her left thigh," he wrote. In response, Moore apparently had her lawyer, Martin Singer, write to Citrano and demand that he retract all blog and Twitter posts claiming the photo had been manipulated.
When Netflix released a trove of "anonymized" information about consumers as part of a contest for a better recommendation tool, it only took a few weeks for researchers at Carnegie Mellon to show how easily the data could be de-anonymized. Yet the company continued with the contest, and declared it intends to hold a second one -- for which it will release even more information than last time. This week, four Netflix consumers sued, arguing that the company's releasing the information would violate the federal Video Protection Privacy Act.
The Federal Communications Commission still has 62 days to present Congress with a national broadband plan, but some consumer advocates say an early report by the agency's task force isn't encouraging.
Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel was grilled by members of the House Judiciary Committee this morning about what his site was doing to combat piracy. Seibel told Congress that the site complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by taking down infringing material upon request. But some lawmakers weren't satisfied.
A hard and fast rule that prohibits Internet service providers from discriminating between content providers could "inadvertently limit the availability of creative and innovative services that consumers may want to purchase," AT&T argues in its latest statement about proposed neutrality regulations.
A class-action lawsuit by consumers against AT&T for allegedly delivering slower-than-advertised broadband service can go forward, a judge in St. Louis has ruled. The consumers alleged that the telecom promised "lightning fast" speeds of at least 384 kbps and up to 1.5 Mpbs, but delivered far slower connections due to "purposeful limitation or 'capping' of the lines," "the inadequacy of the lines," and "the poor condition of the lines."
Facebook has made a minor tweak to its privacy settings. But the company hasn't yet come close to fixing the major problems posed by its new privacy controls.