Wikipedia Battles Literary Agent Over Negative Comments - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // IT Strategy
News
5/2/2008
03:25 PM
50%
50%

Wikipedia Battles Literary Agent Over Negative Comments

While many sites add user-generated content to enhance user experience, Wikipedia relies almost entirely on posts from contributors.

A literary agent has sued the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia contributors over negative remarks, but Wikimedia argues it's not liable for user-generated content.

Barbara Bauer recently filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court claiming that the Wikimedia Foundation is liable for postings that called her one of the "Dumbest of the twenty worst" agents, who has "no documented sales at all."

Wikimedia filed for a motion to dismiss the case, saying that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and state free speech laws, gives it immunity against such lawsuits. The federal communications law states that owners and operators of interactive sites cannot be held liable for user comments.

Courts have upheld the Communications Decency Act in several cases brought against Web sites and discussion boards for user-generated content. Courts have ruled that people with complaints of defamation on Web sites should target users who make comments, not the Web sites themselves.

While many sites add user-generated content to enhance user experience, Wikipedia relies almost entirely on posts from contributors.

However, as people increasingly use the Internet to bully or defame others, policy experts and courts have been scrutinizing Web sites' responsibility to police content.

For example, the New Jersey attorney general has subpoenaed a college gossip site and begun an investigation into whether the site engages in fraud by telling users it will remove or block obscene or abusive posts.

Wikipedia has an editing process in place, which promotes neutral viewpoints and discourages personal attacks. It also allows people to dispute entries and removes postings that don't comply with its policies. The site does not currently have an entry on Bauer. A Wikipedia deletion log shows the entry was deleted in March. It was first deleted in May 2006 and has since been restored and deleted several times, according to the deletion log.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Commentary
Is Cloud Migration a Path to Carbon Footprint Reduction?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/5/2020
News
IT Spending, Priorities, Projects: What's Ahead in 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/2/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Slideshows
Flash Poll