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> Nowhere to hide, libel not covered by 1st
Malleus
post Tue 31st May 2011, 10:21pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Tue 31st May 2011, 12:58pm) *

I think it's a matter of time before someone in the UK gets their ass sued into oblivion for editing Wikipedia, and shortly after that there will be no UK editors of Wikipedia left, once all of them realize that they're totally vulnerable there to defamation claims.

I think that's very unlikely. How many editors do you think have the assets to make it worthwhile for a plantiff to sue them in a UK civil court? Very few or just none? As Robert Maxwell so ably demonstrated, UK libel law is a plaything of the rich, a tool to suppress anything they'd prefer others not to know about. In reality it has very little if anything to do with spreading lies. But equally those without significant assets are immune to it, and can say pretty much whatever they please.

This post has been edited by Malleus: Tue 31st May 2011, 10:28pm
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RMHED
post Tue 31st May 2011, 10:46pm
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QUOTE(Malleus @ Tue 31st May 2011, 11:21pm) *

QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Tue 31st May 2011, 12:58pm) *

I think it's a matter of time before someone in the UK gets their ass sued into oblivion for editing Wikipedia, and shortly after that there will be no UK editors of Wikipedia left, once all of them realize that they're totally vulnerable there to defamation claims.

I think that's very unlikely. How many editors do you think have the assets to make it worthwhile for a plantiff to sue them in a UK civil court? Very few or just none? As Robert Maxwell so ably demonstrated, UK libel law is a plaything of the rich, a tool to suppress anything they'd prefer others not to know about. In reality it has very little if anything to do with spreading lies. But equally those without significant assets are immune to it, and can say pretty much whatever they please.

Quite a few I'd imagine, given the UK's love of home ownership.
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Malleus
post Wed 1st June 2011, 6:42pm
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QUOTE(RMHED @ Tue 31st May 2011, 11:46pm) *

QUOTE(Malleus @ Tue 31st May 2011, 11:21pm) *

QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Tue 31st May 2011, 12:58pm) *

I think it's a matter of time before someone in the UK gets their ass sued into oblivion for editing Wikipedia, and shortly after that there will be no UK editors of Wikipedia left, once all of them realize that they're totally vulnerable there to defamation claims.

I think that's very unlikely. How many editors do you think have the assets to make it worthwhile for a plantiff to sue them in a UK civil court? Very few or just none? As Robert Maxwell so ably demonstrated, UK libel law is a plaything of the rich, a tool to suppress anything they'd prefer others not to know about. In reality it has very little if anything to do with spreading lies. But equally those without significant assets are immune to it, and can say pretty much whatever they please.

Quite a few I'd imagine, given the UK's love of home ownership.

And how exactly do you reconcile home ownership with the commonly reported demographics of wikipedia editors? Winning a libel case doesn't give the plaintiff automatic access to any assets owned by the plaintiff's parents.
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Abd
post Thu 2nd June 2011, 1:55am
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QUOTE(Malleus @ Wed 1st June 2011, 2:42pm) *
And how exactly do you reconcile home ownership with the commonly reported demographics of wikipedia editors? Winning a libel case doesn't give the plaintiff automatic access to any assets owned by the plaintiff's parents.
I'm not completely sure this is true. Parents of minors can be held responsible for the torts of their children.

There is also a theory that might be pursued, that if Wikipedia structure fosters and allows and facilitates torts, even if in individual cases, Wikipedia might be held blameless, there might be a cause of action. I certainly would not want to depend on the absence of such liability.

What would be interesting would be a legal notice to Wikipedia, on behalf of specific possible plaintiffs, but also providing a general warning. of possible liability if the Foundation continues to leave the "kids" without supervision. Others might then be able to rely upon this warning, if it were properly published.
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Malleus
post Thu 2nd June 2011, 3:04pm
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QUOTE(Abd @ Thu 2nd June 2011, 2:55am) *

QUOTE(Malleus @ Wed 1st June 2011, 2:42pm) *
And how exactly do you reconcile home ownership with the commonly reported demographics of wikipedia editors? Winning a libel case doesn't give the plaintiff automatic access to any assets owned by the plaintiff's parents.
I'm not completely sure this is true. Parents of minors can be held responsible for the torts of their children.

There is also a theory that might be pursued, that if Wikipedia structure fosters and allows and facilitates torts, even if in individual cases, Wikipedia might be held blameless, there might be a cause of action. I certainly would not want to depend on the absence of such liability.

What would be interesting would be a legal notice to Wikipedia, on behalf of specific possible plaintiffs, but also providing a general warning. of possible liability if the Foundation continues to leave the "kids" without supervision. Others might then be able to rely upon this warning, if it were properly published.

Well, good luck to anyone who decides to sue a ten-year-old for libel; they're going to need it.
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Kelly Martin
post Thu 2nd June 2011, 3:46pm
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QUOTE(Abd @ Wed 1st June 2011, 8:55pm) *
I'm not completely sure this is true. Parents of minors can be held responsible for the torts of their children.
Not for intentional torts. Guardians are not liable for the intentional torts of their wards, although you can sue a guardian for negligent supervision if the exercise of reasonable supervision of the ward by the guardian would have prevented the harm which occurred.

QUOTE(Abd @ Wed 1st June 2011, 8:55pm) *
There is also a theory that might be pursued, that if Wikipedia structure fosters and allows and facilitates torts, even if in individual cases, Wikipedia might be held blameless, there might be a cause of action. I certainly would not want to depend on the absence of such liability.

What would be interesting would be a legal notice to Wikipedia, on behalf of specific possible plaintiffs, but also providing a general warning. of possible liability if the Foundation continues to leave the "kids" without supervision. Others might then be able to rely upon this warning, if it were properly published.
The WMF is fairly clearly immunized against this form of liability by Section 230. Section 230 clearly abrogates any duty for a provider of Internet services to supervise its customers' use of those services; since providers have no duty of supervision there is no way any such supervision could be negligent.

The notion that Wikipedia is a nuisance is an interesting one, but nuisance law is generally thought of as a real property action, and I've never seen anyone apply nuisance law without there being some connection to real property (or the owners or lessees thereof) that is being affected by the nuisance.
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lilburne
post Thu 2nd June 2011, 10:36pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Thu 2nd June 2011, 4:46pm) *

The WMF is fairly clearly immunized against this form of liability by Section 230. Section 230 clearly abrogates any duty for a provider of Internet services to supervise its customers' use of those services; since providers have no duty of supervision there is no way any such supervision could be negligent.



So people say but is it? Is it a service provider or a content provider?
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thekohser
post Fri 3rd June 2011, 1:36pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Thu 2nd June 2011, 11:46am) *

The WMF is fairly clearly immunized against this form of liability by Section 230. Section 230 clearly abrogates any duty for a provider of Internet services to supervise its customers' use of those services; since providers have no duty of supervision there is no way any such supervision could be negligent.

The notion that Wikipedia is a nuisance is an interesting one, but nuisance law is generally thought of as a real property action, and I've never seen anyone apply nuisance law without there being some connection to real property (or the owners or lessees thereof) that is being affected by the nuisance.


Kelly, I've spoken with a lawyer who was a key figure in the breast implants cases, and he thinks that Section 230 could be trumped by Wikipedia's problem of "invasion of privacy" of some of the individuals it earmarks as "notable", then allows libel or the chance for libel on a 24/7 basis. I think that has some merit, but I'm not a lawyer, of course.
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Kelly Martin
post Fri 3rd June 2011, 6:45pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Fri 3rd June 2011, 8:36am) *
Kelly, I've spoken with a lawyer who was a key figure in the breast implants cases, and he thinks that Section 230 could be trumped by Wikipedia's problem of "invasion of privacy" of some of the individuals it earmarks as "notable", then allows libel or the chance for libel on a 24/7 basis. I think that has some merit, but I'm not a lawyer, of course.
I'm dubious of that. Invasion of privacy is of the same category of tort as defamation, and I suspect that 230 would immunize WMF for invasion of privacy just as much as it does for defamation. The only way I see to get around 230 is to argue that the WMF is actively encouraging contributors to commit tortious actions, and I just don't see that happening. The WMF doesn't encourage anyone to do anything other than donate money.

I think it's more likely that the WMF will do something to cross the line in its ongoing quest to "increase participation".

Also, if your goal is to kill 230, I'd attack via Wikia instead of going after the WMF first. Wikia is a far less sympathetic defendant (being crassly commercial instead of nominally philanthropic), and if anything they may well be more prone to an "active encouragement" attack. And if a precedental hole were created there, it might be able to be applied afterwards to the WMF, the destruction of Wikia is not going to work to Jimmy's advantage, and it's even possible that a clever lawyer could find a way to tie Wikia to the WMF, or to Jimmy, tightly enough to pierce the wall and collect the judgment debt against the WMF or against Jimmy personally.
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Abd
post Fri 3rd June 2011, 9:38pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Fri 3rd June 2011, 9:36am) *
QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Thu 2nd June 2011, 11:46am) *
The WMF is fairly clearly immunized against this form of liability by Section 230. Section 230 clearly abrogates any duty for a provider of Internet services to supervise its customers' use of those services; since providers have no duty of supervision there is no way any such supervision could be negligent.

The notion that Wikipedia is a nuisance is an interesting one, but nuisance law is generally thought of as a real property action, and I've never seen anyone apply nuisance law without there being some connection to real property (or the owners or lessees thereof) that is being affected by the nuisance.
Kelly, I've spoken with a lawyer who was a key figure in the breast implants cases, and he thinks that Section 230 could be trumped by Wikipedia's problem of "invasion of privacy" of some of the individuals it earmarks as "notable", then allows libel or the chance for libel on a 24/7 basis. I think that has some merit, but I'm not a lawyer, of course.
We are talking about the edges of the law, and for anyone to presume some outcome in advance would be foolish. Here, depending on section 230 immunity, as if the volunteer community for Wikipedia is a bunch of "customers," is awfully shaky.

A more apt characterization might be that the WMF uses them to accomplish its goal, building an encyclopedia, from which it benefits (by gathering donations), and it could be claimed that it is negligent in supervising its servants.

To flesh this theory out, suppose that Wikipedia profits through increased traffic and thus increased donor support, based on publishing libel. I think that the "publisher" for Wikipedia is not the volunteers, it's the WMF. Is the WMF immunized against the unsupervised misbehavior of those who volunteer, according to a system over which the WMF has control, should it choose to exercise that control? That, to me, sounds like an unresolved legal issue, not a slam-dunk in any direction.

It gets even clearer if it's realized that a system that would far better protect people from libel exists, and was just rejected. Not rejected by the WMF, but by the "body of volunteers." Pending Revisions. The WMF could, in fact, insist, if it had the cojones to confront the alleged involved community.

(the core continually pretends that it is the community, when the vast bulk of contributions are coming from outside the core.)
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