Legal Roundup: Sites Not Liable For Third-Party Content; Adult Online Law Challenged; Baidu Wins

Sometimes following the online legal scene is like reading an Etch A Sketch. Here’s the latest batch:
Web Sites Not Liable for Posts by Others: Reversing an appellate court decision, the California Supreme Court has ruled that sites are not liable for libel in third-party posts. A women’s health advocate posted a scathing e-mail by another person on two newsgroups; two doctors identified in the e-mails sued for libel, claiming she knew the material was false and defamatory. Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan: “The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications. Nevertheless … statutory immunity serves to protect online freedom of expression and to encourage self-regulation, as Congress intended.” No decision yet on an appeal.

Judge to rule on landmark Internet porn law: A U.S. law meant to shield children from online pornography could be struck down after a four-week trial in Philadelphia … the ACLU and other opponents say the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 is so poorly written that it is too restrictive for adults. Their argument: filtering is better. The government says that isn’t good enough. This law has never been implemented and was sent back by the U.S. Supreme Court to the lower court for a full trial. We’ll see what this judge says.

China court rules in favor of Baidu in MP3 download suit – report: The China Business News is reporting that a Beijing court ruled in favor of Baidu in a copyright suit by seven global music companies. Universal, Sony BMG, EMI, etc. were suing over Baidu’s MP3 search technology providing links to illegal downloads. BBC: This overturns an earlier ruling. “If the music companies had won, the whole search engine sector would have ground to a halt,” Xinhua news agency quoted a Baidu spokesman as saying.” The report has the music labels appealing.

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