Friday, January 02, 2009

Good News! You're Not Liable for Bumping!

No, not chest bumping, although I can think of several reason why liability might be an issue, but we won't go there.

Nope, it's far more liberating than Bush's chest bumping or Obama's fist bumping. It's Internet post or thread bumping.

If you have spent night after night, tossing and turning, worrying about whether what you've bumped on the Internet, there is good news for you:

"Bump messages" - new comments posted to older messages in order to move them current on a forum or web site - are not considered republication, therefore you can not be sued for liable. Whew! I can finally get some sleep.

On 12/10/08, in Admission Consultants Inc. v. Google, Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn of Manhattan denied Admission Consultants request that Google give up identifying information aimed at obtaining the names and addresses of two anonymous posters to BusinessWeek's Web site. Admission Consultants claimed that each bump message republished the defamatory material, therefore "constituted an actionable statement". In other words, they sued for bumping.

Citing Gregoire v. Putnam's Sons, (1948), Justice Cahn said:

"Under the 'single publication rule,' which New York follows, the publication of a defamatory statement in a single issue of a newspaper or magazine, although widely circulated and distributed, constitutes one publication that gives rise to the cause of action. That rule applies here to the modification of an Internet Web site,"
Justice Cahn concluded:
"Subjecting a single modification of an Internet Web site, such as a bump message, to the definition of a republication of defamation would have a 'serious inhibitory effect' on this form of communication."
Some other ground-breaking lawsuits:

I was circumsized, dammit!

My dress fell apart at the altar!

My thong injured by eye!

Poop happens.

Don't hug me!

Brooklyn Judge sues for negligent use of soapy water, mop bucket and wringer.

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