French Digg clone Fuzz has been forced offline after a link posted by a user to an off-site story was deemed to have constituted privacy invasion. Paris’ court of the first instance fined owner Bloobox.net 1,400 euros and asked for 1,500 euros in costs because it included a link to a blog post about Kylie Minogue’s ex-boyfriend. The case reawakens both the debate over liability for UGC sites and deeplinking.
Eric Dupin started the site in 2005, operating on the Digg model, with which registered users add topical links and fellow users’ votes determine their editorial placement (via AFP). The story in question pointed to a post on gossip blog Celebrities Stars, which claimed French actor Olivier Martinez and singer Minogue were to get married, despite having split a year ago. The court refuted Fuzz’s claim that it was not the publisher of the story.
Dupin has scrapped Fuzz and replaced the homepage with an angry statement: “This type of site is not a blog but is closer to a forum or an automated Dailymotion, even a search engine such as Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Bloobox.net has no control over what is broadcast on the site, making it a simple technical provider. All sites allowing internet users to communicate with each other should measure the consequences of this decision, (which could create) a climate of fear and insecurity detrimental to the whole economy of the internet.”