Here is Why you Can’t Sue Ripoff Report (and What your Business can Do, Instead)

Here is Why you Can’t Sue Ripoff Report (and What your Business can Do, Instead)

Two years ago an attorney filed a lawsuit against Xcentric Ventures (“Xcentric”), Ripoff Report’s (ripoffreport.com’s) holding company. What was the lawyer’s legal goal? Currently, on account of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), ISPs and Web hosts are not liable for third-party comments. But the attorney ostensibly wanted to find a slither of legal wiggle room in Section 230’s immunity parameters; he wanted to craft a legal solution that may force Ripoff Report to remove certain information.

Ripoff Report legal case - lawsuit against online content

If he’d been successful in his lawsuit, the victory would’ve ultimately paved the way for business owners to sue consumer review websites, like Ripoff Report, over defamatory user comments and posts.

But it didn’t work. The United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, sided with Xcentric and ripoffreport.com, further strengthening and defining the libel immunity scope of Section230 of the CDA.

Ripoff Report Section 230 Lawsuit Background

A couple of years ago, a lawyer won a defamation lawsuit against a party who posted a false, negligent and materially harmful (i.e., defamatory) statement about him on ripoffreport.com. As part of his win, the presiding judge granted the attorney copyrights to the defamatory statement, presumably so he could file a DMCA takedown request and get the material removed from Ripoff Report, permanently.

But Xcentric pushed back, legally, and questioned the validity of the copyright transfer. After all, ripoffreport.com’s terms, to which users must consent before publishing a report, conferred content intellectual property rights to Xcentric.

In the end, a court declared the copyright transfer null and void because it violated the Copyright Act and Xcentric retained the intellectual property rights of the defamatory post about the lawyer.

As reported in a Newswire.com press release, Ripoff Report’s founder expressed pleasure at the lawsuit’s outcome. Attorney Daniel Warner explained why, though sometimes it seems outrageous (especially to business doing battle with a defamatory troll), Section 230 of the CDA must remain the way it is for the Internet to continue to flourish as a commercial marketplace.

“Without Section 230, social media would have never survived; Amazon.com would never have included user reviews; and nobody would ever be allowed to post their opinions in the millions of comment sections across the Web. Without Section 230, the Internet – and resultant economy – would have been stunted in the late 90s.”

He also rightfully reminded readers that if people and businesses could sue websites over user content, then social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, forums and other consumer sites would not exist.

Seek legal help over defamation
photo credit: filin ilia – aliyo.hu

What Can I Do If Someone Posts A Defamatory Post About Me On Ripoff Report?

Does Section 230 of the CDA mean business owners can’t legally fight back against defamatory information posted on consumer review gripe sites, like Ripoff Report? No. it doesn’t. Legal remedies are available to people who have been libeled online. But like many legal challenges, the most effective solution to your issue is in the details. Learn the best course of action, for your particular case, by contacting kellywarnerlaw.com’s Ripoff Report removal attorneys.

Ivan Widjaya

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of Noobpreneur.com, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.