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AppleButter's Journal: MySpace Not Guilty in Child Assault Case 228

Journal by AppleButter
The Washington Post reports that a Texas judge dismissed a $30 million case against MySpace for their role in a child assault case. 19-year old Peter Solis lied about his age on MySpace to gain the confidence the confidence of a 13-year old girl. The judge ruled, "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."
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MySpace Not Guilty in Child Assault Case

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:53PM (#18029452)
    Yep.
  • by Ice Wewe (936718) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:54PM (#18029474)
    Good for MySpace, I'm just surprised he didn't get the death penalty!
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      I'm just surprised he didn't get the death penalty!

      It's a shame, isn't it. I felt he should have at least gotten a good neutering! Granted, some of the responsibility lies with girl's parents, but that doesn't lessen the crime at all.

    • Frivolous suits (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:08PM (#18029742)
      Myspace is not liable for this any more than the phone company is liable for the prank and threatening phone calls. I don't know about the rest of the /. community, but I am dead tired of the continuous attempts to impose liability on the carrier for the content. This goes to the very core of undermining the openness and freedom of the internet, as a neutral medium for communication and sharing of information. Verdict for the plaintiff would have been a horrible precedent.
      • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:26PM (#18031084) Homepage

        Myspace is not liable for this any more than the phone company is liable for the prank and threatening phone calls. I don't know about the rest of the /. community, but I am dead tired of the continuous attempts to impose liability on the carrier for the content.

        If MySpace was a carrier - you'd have a point. But MySpace has nothing in common with the phone company (while the ISP providing acess to MySpace does). Don't confuse levels.
         
        I if built a building - and allowed kids to come in and hang out, decorate, dance, whatever... Under the law I'd sure as hell be liable if a adult or older child was preying on younger children in my building - but the transport system they used to get there wouldn't be. (Check out the legal concepts of in loco parentis and attractive nusiance.) Why should MySpace be any different?
         

        Verdict for the plaintiff would have been a horrible precedent.

        On the contrary - a verdict for the plaintiff would have been a wonderful precedent. Why? Because it would establish that the owner of a space is responsible for what happens there of he can reasonably prevent it. Whether that space is physical *or* virtual. It's the same as the pool in my backyard - if I don't take adequate measures to limit acess to it, then I am liable if a child drowns himself in it. (Hence, my backyard is fenced and has a locked gate as per code.) I don't see whay virtual spaces should be exempt from the same kind of regulation.
         

        This goes to the very core of undermining the openness and freedom of the internet, as a neutral medium for communication and sharing of information.

        On the contrary - reasonable regulation and openess and freedom are not mutually exclusionary. Consider the Federal highway system - anyone can acess it and go anywhere it goes as and when they will. But they may not drive on in such a fashion as to endanger the life and health of others. I can use the telephone system for a variety of purposes, entertainment or business - but I may not use telemarketing except under a fairly strict set of circumstances.
         
        And if you want the internet to open and free - then that applies to spammers and sites that open a dozen pornographic popups when you visit it as much as it does to MySpace. You can't have it both ways.
         
        And I find it bitterly amusing that the same Slashdot community who wants to put the blame on the parents in this case - raises a huge outcry whenever someone floats the idea of logging software as limiting the rights of the child. You can't have it both ways folks - either the parent is reponsible for the behavior (and thus has the authority to limit those rights), or they aren't and don't. Responsobilitiy and authority are twin sides of the same coin.
        • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:57PM (#18031522) Journal
          I think most people here rightly believe that the best way to deal with your children is not to go all "big brother" on them, and install monitoring software and cameras, but instead to take the time to foster the sort of relationship with your child that makes those measures unnecessary.

          That being said, I don't know of anyone here who disputes that parents have the right to do those things should they choose to do so.

          And the internet is held to a vastly different standard of proof from a physical building...In the case of a physical building you can quite easily require identification from every person before they gain entrance. On the internet, there is no way to make sure that the information which you collected accurately represents the person who is using your service. No way. To hold MySpace accountable for user created content when they have no possible way of accurately identifying their userbase is absurd.

          To hold them accountable would literally kill the internet in this country, because every site could be held liable for every post, and, even more frightening, all real world actions that occur because of that post.

          Excellent ruling.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by DerekLyons (302214)

            I think most people here rightly believe that the best way to deal with your children is not to go all "big brother" on them, and install monitoring software and cameras, but instead to take the time to foster the sort of relationship with your child that makes those measures unnecessary.

            That's fine in some fantasy fuzzy world where being your child's best friend is 100% percent certain to work. But it doesn't. Sometimes a parent needs to be a parent.

            That being said, I don't know of anyone here w

            • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:5, Insightful)

              by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday February 16, 2007 @01:29AM (#18035152) Journal
              So every site, including this one, that posts anything that anyone finds objectionable, or that some (bad) parent blames for their child's misbehavior or misadventure should be held legally accountable? Nice way of passing off all your responsibility on to a third party. I'm wondering where you draw the line...If a guy chats up your daughter in the mall, should mall security have the authority to shoot on site, or would you just shock her with a nice taser jolt from the electric chastity belt you're making her wear?

              And, even better, you want the government to have the authority to do witch hunts through ISP subscriber lists trying to find illegal material, and you don't see anything at all wrong with that? Very nice.

              There are certainly a lot of privacy advocates here, and I'm generally considered a bit fringe because I don't believe in a right to privacy anywhere outside of your personal property/personal space.By comparison, you're not even on the same planet with the rest of us. Take your distopian nanny state and go move to china or n. korea if you don't like it here.
        • One could argue that MySpace is a carrier just like the telephone company is. MySpace is a gateway to information; it holds the information that you want other people to have. The argument is obviously much more in depth than that, and I'm really not saying that I think MySpace is a carrier, but I'm not sure that it isn't.

          I am sure that MySpace should not be the same as your pool in your backyard. You don't see why virtual spaces should be exempt from the same kind of regulation? How about because the
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rifter (147452)

          And I find it bitterly amusing that the same Slashdot community who wants to put the blame on the parents in this case - raises a huge outcry whenever someone floats the idea of logging software as limiting the rights of the child.

          We don't raise outcry when parents log their kids' behaviour. Hell there have been a good bunch of threads where slashdotters discussed keylogging spouses/[boy|girl]friends. What we tend to object to tends to be more of the following:

          1) Porn blocking software that blocks legite

          • And I find it bitterly amusing that the same Slashdot community who wants to put the blame on the parents in this case - raises a huge outcry whenever someone floats the idea of logging software as limiting the rights of the child.

            We don't raise outcry when parents log their kids' behaviour.

            First day on Slashdot or first day off of mind altering substances? Because that outcry is raised every time such software is touted. Every time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Fastolfe (1470)

          I if built a building - and allowed kids to come in and hang out, decorate, dance, whatever... Under the law I'd sure as hell be liable if a adult or older child was preying on younger children in my building - but the transport system they used to get there wouldn't be. (Check out the legal concepts of in loco parentis and attractive nusiance.) Why should MySpace be any different?

          This seems to fit the definition of a mall. Kids go there to hang out, and the girls and boys get dressed up to show off for

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pak9rabid (1011935)
      Excellent choice. Parents need to take responsibility for their poor parenting instead of trying to blame it on external sources.
    • No kidding.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CasperIV (1013029) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:12PM (#18029808)
      I'm glad a judge had common sense on MySpace's behalf. People want to shift blame to the medium used for the meeting, not the people in the real world who are at fault. The only people to blame in this case are the parents and the guy who committed the crime. It was the parent's job to know what their child was doing and to prevent her from meeting people like this. The world is full of bad people, but it's the parent's jobs to protect their children. Of course, this in no way removes responsibility for the crime from the guy. All I'm saying is that HE is responsible for committing the crime and the parents are responsible for not preventing their child from falling victim to him.
      • The only people to blame in this case are the parents and the guy who committed the crime.
        Don't forget the dumbass 13 year old as well! Do you not remember being 13? I remember that age, and I sure wasn't fucking stupid enough to meet someone in real life that I only knew online. Holy shit, get some common sense, whippersnappers!
  • Moo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:56PM (#18029502) Journal
    So, now that we have seen "common sense" used in a court case, can we use this as precedent for all future rulings?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Karganeth (1017580)
      Common sense in a courtroom? Now thats an oxymoron.
      • by Tack (4642)

        Common sense in a courtroom? Now thats an oxymoron.

        Although the courts have certainly produced their fair share of WTFs, I believe the judicial system is the last bastion of hope for the American people. (And the Canadian people too, in about a decade.)

  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:58PM (#18029538)

    What do you think? Good call?

    Is the phone company responsible for verifying the age of people talking so a 19 year old can't lie to a 13 year old and then commit a crime? How about newspaper personal ads, are the newspaper's responsible? What ISPs who provide e-mail accounts? You know those companies that create voice boxes for people with throat cancer? Are they responsible for verifying the age of the person using them so they cannot be misused for this same purpose?

    Blaming the medium or the tools is just plain stupid. This was, of course, a correct decision

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by orpheum (1064692)
      Absolutely it was a good call. Personally I'm sick and tired of parents assuming that organizations are going to take care of them and protect them from every single little thing that might hurt them or their family members, children included. If you can't teach your own children common sense on how to use a communication medium as volatiles as a website, then perhaps you shouldn't have an Internet connection in the first place. Even if you have anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, anti-phising and pop-up
    • by jxs2151 (554138)

      What do you think? Good call?

      Is the phone company responsible for verifying the age of people talking so a 19 year old can't lie to a 13 year old and then commit a crime? How about newspaper personal ads, are the newspaper's responsible? What ISPs who provide e-mail accounts? You know those companies that create voice boxes for people with throat cancer? Are they responsible for verifying the age of the person using them so they cannot be misused for this same purpose?

      Blaming the medium or the tools is just plain stupid. This was, of course, a correct decision

      I thought that the courts had piled up enough decisions thus far to render further decisions unnecessary. At what point do public websites obtain "common carrier" status? Can anyone think of a reason what we wouldn't want this to happen?

      --
      http://www.thestevensons.org/ [thestevensons.org]

      • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Informative)

        by Phat_Tony (661117) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:29PM (#18030084)
        It can not be as general as "all websites have common carrier status," like all phone companies and all package carriers receive, because there are plenty of legitimate web business models that work on the opposite presumption. For example, this is more or less the case with true.com [true.com]. Their whole thing is that they are trying to check people's identities to prevent jerking around with fake identities on dating sites. Now, I"m not saying they should be liable, but suppose that at some point the problem on myspace grows and becomes more serious, and some startup comes along with the business plan that they'll attract business, particularly from minors who's parents point them there, by guaranteeing the authenticity of their account holders. The whole point is that they check all of this for the safety of users who cant or won't take appropriate precautions and watch out for themselves, making it a safe, or at least safer, community. You can't let them be automatically exempted from responsibility for user verification too just because they're a website, if they're selling user verification as a product. Common carrier status for all websites would amount to legalizing breach of contract, or at least false advertising, for this kind of company, basically making their potentially useful business model worthless because it would be unenforceable.

        As long as websites aren't advancing claims regarding user authenticity, then I think they should have common carrier status. But the entire web shouldn't automatically receive it, it depends on the context. Caveat Emptor for any site that's not making specific claims regarding the authenticity of their content. For sites making claims, it would be taken on a case-by-case basis, and there may well be reasonable grounds for complaints and lawsuits.
    • There is only so much anyone can do. Running full credit and background checks for all myspace Users is Impractical, and Scary. I know there are people who go around waving think of the children flag. But any one company or tool can't and shouldn't expect to be a baby sitter for minors. They may ask their age as way to categorize them and also try to cut abuse a bit. But expecting anything to be fool proof is Stupid. Parents need to realize their Kids are Dumb, Gullible and they only think they are
    • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:19PM (#18029946) Homepage Journal

      Blaming the medium or the tools is just plain stupid. This was, of course, a correct decision

      I've got an even better comparison. Do we sue the city when someone is raped or molested in public? The technology exists to prevent it - just cover the streets with cops! Of course it would be horribly expensive, but the fact remains that we have the ability to stop if if we make some hard decisions, that will utterly cripple our city, drain the coffers, and make life basically unlivable. But we can stop public rape!

      But of course that would be utterly ridiculous, and the only reason that a lawsuit like this can even proceed is that it's computer-related, and most people have no clue about computers, so they are afraid of them, and that fear can be used. Kind of sounds like something else going on in our (American) society right now...

    • by Alchemar (720449)
      What about a coffee shop where two people might meat. What about a city park, then it would be the goverments fault.

      I agree with everything in your point. I just think that limiting this to the "medium or tools" is one step towards making internet laws and physical laws seperate. What this man did is illegal. It does not matter if he did it over the internet or at the local mall. Anyone that did not have a legal resposibility to prevent this should not be held liable. If it occured at a local club tha
    • by inviolet (797804)

      Blaming the medium or the tools is just plain stupid. This was, of course, a correct decision

      Agreed... but, read closer:

      The judge ruled, 'To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication.'"

      The problem is that the judge did not say "The plaintiffs are teh asshats for even bringing

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        Speaking of asshats, if you read on, you'll find the actual important precedent in the ruling:

        "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."

  • placing blame (Score:2, Interesting)

    by physicsboy500 (645835)

    In the end, according to the judge, "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."

    It's really amazing what's passed off as someone else's fault when the blame should have been placed on the people passing it. Congrats to the judge for making a great call and boohiss to the parents for trying to close down our beloved myspace...

    home of over a million unread emo thoughts.

  • Yep, the only call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:59PM (#18029568) Journal
    This is like suing blockbuster because my membership card says "Gulliver" (which isn't my name - but they didn't check!), and somebody were to accept my (written in ink) blockbuster card as some form of ID. Say the bank were to loan a hundered thousand dollars to "Gulliver McMadeUpName", and then sue Blockbuster when I defaulted.

    This was a ridiculous and frivolous suit. MySpace has no obligation to verify the truth of any information any random person posts. They aren't bondsmen.

    The ramifications if this were taken seriously would be huge. Every web forum, including slashdot, would have to perform thorough background checks with 3 forms of government ID, before accepting members.
    • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:09PM (#18029772) Journal
      Actually, I had a thought.

      I should file a 30 million dollar suit against slashdot, because someone put up a link that said it was an article about the SCO/IBM lawsuit, but was really a picture of a mans grotesquely distended asshole.

      Same thing, really.

      I TRUSTED YOU SLASHDOT how could you let this happen.
  • Thumbs up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:00PM (#18029586) Journal
    It's a good call.
    It's the parent's responsibility to keep an eye on their kid, including their internet activity (even if that is inconvenient or time-consuming for the parent).

    Suing Myspace is like suing the phone company - they're only the medium, ma'am.
  • by AxemRed (755470) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:00PM (#18029594)
    I don't see how it's a company's job to keep people from lying on the internet. If it was, AOL's chat rooms would be in a lot of trouble...
  • Bad reasoning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:01PM (#18029612)

    Although the judge's conclusion was correct, the reasoning he applied was flawed: it's not that MySpace shouldn't be liable because its business model depends on it, it's that MySpace shouldn't be liable because it's the parents' responsibility to care for their kids, and MySpace isn't anybody's parent.

  • About time ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:02PM (#18029626) Homepage
    This ruling, hopefully, will stop all of those propositions the government keep trying to make to ensure that everyone will somehow be responsible for ensuring that children don't get onto their site.

    This seems to finally accept that it's just not possible to correctly validate the information that everyone gives you online.

    For the same reason they won't be able to identify when people claim to be younger, they won't be able to stop kids from saying they're old enough to be there.

    Depending on the level of court making this decision (and wether or not this establishes precedent) this might make it more difficult to sa, for example, that porn vendors are responsible for confirming that all applicants aren't kids or registered sex offenders. It's simply not possible to do it.

    Cheers
  • I mean, not being perfect (or representing yourself as being so) at detecting the deceit of a lying user does not mean you have a "role in the assault" on a child. This should have been tossed out before it wasted as much court time as it did. Shame about the situation, but the girl's parents are entirely to blame, here. Don't know about your 13 year old daughter's social life and face-time meetings with strangers? Easier to sue, obviously.
  • you know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@@@carpanet...net> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:07PM (#18029720) Homepage
    I really want to know more about the psychology of this and how it comes about. I mean... who wants to be with a 13 yo anyway? Though, 19 meh... I have known 19 year olds who have dated 13 year olds, its usually a case of an overly marture 13 year old and an immature 19 year old. Hell, one of my best friends today was 19 and dated my sister when she was 14 and going on 15.

    I can attest that at 19, he wasn't quite at her level then. At 28, he still isn't now, but thats another story :)

    But I digress... and far. This is an issue of assault more than age. Who cares how old he was? What he did was wrong at any age where the person can tell right from wrong. I really don't see how age verification will help. 13 year olds arn't that hard to talk into doing things that their authority figures don't approve of, hell he might have had an easier time with his real age... 13 year olds think 19 year olds are cool and mature.

    The reason I say I want to know more about it, was I saw those dateline shows where they caught and outed a bunch of guys who did this stuff and interviewed them. It was sobering. Sobering that it was happening, and sobering to see these guys interviewd.

    They seemed.... mostly normal. The only thing really different about them seemed to be that they seemed rather socially undeveloped. I really got the feeling they were going after young easily influenced girls because, they seemed to lack the social skills to get a girl their own age. As a slashdot geek, I am pretty familiar with some of the behavious.

    I guess what bugs me, is I saw myself at different points in my life in their stories and thought, that with a slightly different values, and influences in my life, could I have been one of these guys showing up at a 13 year olds house with a six pack of cheap malt beverages?

    While its easy to deamonize people who try to do, or do bad things, and we have to deal with this from a criminal justice standpoint when it happens. However, shouldn't we be looking at our society and how we can help to not create people who are in the situation where a 13 year old starts to look like a viable option?

    It seems to me like these guys needed something. It wasn't a 13 year old girl they really needed, but it wasn't anything that time in jail was going to fix either. Most of them had even seen the show in the past, so the threat of incarceration certainly wasn't stopping them.

    I think it behooves us to understand these issues at a deeper level, and try to solve them from their source rather than their symptoms.

    -Steve
    • by Hentai (165906) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:13PM (#18029818) Homepage Journal
      Actually, the guy didn't lie about his age - the *GIRL* did. She was 13, but claimed on MySpace - and presumably, in person - that she was 18. Kinda puts his actions in a different light, doesn't it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheCarp (96830) *
        Thats pretty obnoxious. Actually this stuff tends to be shakey anyway since the definition of "assault" isn't what one expects it to be. I mean, most people, even in terms of non-sexual assault, don't really understand the difference between say "assault" and "assault and battery".

        Admittedly I was ignoring the fact that "sexual assault" includes "consensual" sex if the law says one of the parties "couldn't consent". The difference between everyday and technical legal use of terms can be head spinning.

        There
        • by Hentai (165906)
          You CAN'T get that overturned - it's called "Strict Liability", and it means that even if there is NO WAY YOU COULD HAVE KNOWN that she was underage, you're STILL a filthy pedo who deserves to get butt-raped by Bubba.
        • It only seems moronic because you're not thinking in the right mindset.

          Think like a religious nutcase, and it'll make sense. :) The sex hysteria laws are on the books to be interpreted literally - to promote hysteria.

          Rape is repugnant and illegal regardless of the age of those involved. Extending the law to include cases that aren't rape is simply church law, disguised.

      • Further, it's unclear if he assaulted her in the literal sense or just in the legal sense.

        Though it's still illegal in Texas, it's a possibility that it was a consentual relationship; people should consider that. Again the article is unclear.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stratjakt (596332)
      One episode of that show bothered me a lot, usually I actually "enjoy" it, in the sense that I see predators get what they deserve. Sick dudes showing up naked, expecting to meet an 8 year old boy, etc.

      One episode, however, had them posing as a 15 year old girl. Just under the legal age of 16 - I remember them distinctly saying that, in the chat, something like "i'll be 16 in a month". They engaged in lots of explicit chat, and "come on over and visit me" type stuff with an 18 year old guy, some kid who'
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        They grilled the guy forever, and portrayed him as some kind of sick monster, but I sat there watching this going "hey, the guy talked to someone only 3 years younger, every bit his peer, who actually enticed him over". At 18, I might have done the same thing. In fact, at 18, I did do the same thing (hit on 15/16 year olds). I hope that kid got a good lawyer, and I hope that lawyer successfully argued entrapment.

        I don't know where that took place, but in California we have a three year law. It doesn't make

        • by TheCarp (96830) *
          When I was 19 I moved in with my first girlfriend, a 26 year old.

          Thats a 7 year age difference. The relationship lasted all of 2 years.... but if you went backwards that same amount of time, it would have been illegal (maybe, there is some debate over the actual law in MA... some say 18, others 16, and I am aware of no age difference law... just an age of consent). is 24/17 really so different from 26/19 ?

          Hell, in that case, *I* was the one carrying the financial burden. Paying most of the rent and letting
          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            My current girlfriend is about a decade my senior and is one of the coolest women I've ever known. Which is why I'm with her. The age difference DOES cause some problems, but there are definitely compensations.
  • In Loco Parentis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tiberus (258517) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:09PM (#18029766)
    This is a sick thing that happened and I think the guy should be jailed for life or worse but, what were the parents doing?!? I have to teenagers and while I won't delude myself in thinking I know everything that goes on in their lives, I have a fair idea about most of it (I hope).

    I am in my son's WOW guild so I know them, I play Halo on occasion (it sucks getting my ass kicked so much) with him and his other friends. They are welcome in my house as long as they follow the rules.

    I know my daughter likes manga, anime, country music, who her friends are, know their names and individual interests etc. etc.etc. Quality time is total b#$$s%^&, you have to spend time with them and know what is going on in their lives.

    Wonder if her parents ever looked at her MySpace to see what she thinks, likes or is worried about...

    MySpace it not at fault here, something is/was going on in that girl's life that put her in a position to want to go off and meet someone without telling her parents or at least without escort. The ball was not in MySpace's court.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      MySpace it not at fault here, something is/was going on in that girl's life that put her in a position to want to go off and meet someone without telling her parents or at least without escort. The ball was not in MySpace's court.

      It's called a lack of respect for her parents.

      I can't speak for her but I learned to disrespect my mother when she lied to me. In some cases she made up answers to things that I later looked up and found out she was full of shit. In some cases she told me things she knew to be fa

  • Other news sites mention that the 19 year old male lied saying that he was a senior in high school (probably saying he was 18). However, the girl lied too saying that she was 18 when she was really only 13. I really doubt that the guy still thought she was 18 by the time he met up with her. He's a total creep, but who dropped the ball on the girl's side of this. They met up in the parking lot of a park. Real, safe public-meeting spot. Why didn't the girls parents teach her about strangers on the internet? A
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      you mean two ugly, desperate people will go on the internet and lie to each other in a desperate attempt to get sex? now, you've got to be pulling my chain.
  • Bad Job, Judge! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Se7enLC (714730) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:16PM (#18029888) Homepage Journal
    The judge ruled, 'To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication.'"

    So you're telling me that you had a chance to finally get rid of the atrocity that is MySpace and you DIDN'T???
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      Then where will all the MySpace users go? Didn't you experience the neverending September when AOL became popular? At least MySpace keeps all of those people in one place. :)
  • Reasoning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigdavex (155746) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:18PM (#18029934)

    To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication.

    Hmm, MySpace's business model would collapse if we rule against them. Therefore, it must be OK.

    Right decision, wrong reason.
    • by Servo (9177)
      Hmm, MySpace's business model would collapse if we rule against them. Therefore, it must be OK.

      That's complete BS. They specifically call out that verification of age and resulting liability would prevent them from doing business.

      I applaud them for realizing that fact. Businesses are not in business to police their customers.
  • by harves (122617) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:29PM (#18030082)
    It's odd to say it, but I don't think this ruling is "right". Particularly not the precedent that it sets. The judge expressed concern for MySpace's business future and for the other users of the service. Seriously, this is not "common sense", this is "big business rules".

    I *do* think that the outcome is correct - but the wrong reasons were given. The correct reason would have been more directly related to the notion of personal responsibility. Not this "MySpace can't be responsible, because, oh gosh, they'd lose money if they were" crap.

    Common sense my arse. The outcome matches common sense, but not the rationale. I just hope it's not used as a precedent.
    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      I think you're overlooking the last bit where the judge said that if it was anyone's responsibility to protect her, it was her parents'. I think that's where his ruling originated from. They're not just asking that MySpace be burdened with a responsibility that'd put them out of business, they're asking that MySpace be forced to take on that responsibility so that they won't have to take on any responsibility of their own. No, under those circumstances MySpace shouldn't be burdened with that responsibility,

    • Okay, Myspace is a business, which operates under different rules than a non-business entity, largely because of what the assumption are. If I walk into a store front, either corporately owned or not, there is an expectation of safety, non-discrimination, etc., and other things that govern businesses open to the public. If I walk into a private club (whether it is a tree house or a rented building), there is less of an expectation that they are operating like a business would. Negligence and contributory
    • IANAL, but from what I'm given to understand, it may not be a precedent.

      When a previous employer of mine was battling a lawsuit with a former client, we thought we might be involved with some ground-breaking decisions. When we asked our lawyer if this might set a precedent, he explained that there are very few precedents that come from the circuit court level. Most of them come from appellate or supreme courts.

      Thus, if I understood correctly, (and bear in mind that even if I did, I may not be remembering it
    • In Texas, all judges are elected to short terms (even justices of the two courts of last resort). Also, the voting body of Texans are primarily fiscal conservatives. Thus, it seems a better tactic for a politician (which is what judges in Texas are) to use a fiscally conservative rationale rather than a "parents [who elect me], stop being dumbasses" rationale.
  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:47PM (#18030418)

    Communication sites like myspace (though not myspace in particular) are too important to the human race to damage over the abuse of one person. People are abused day in, day out, around the world. Closing or damaging myspace's ability to permit free communications will not solve this issue.

    We must move forward as a species - not backwards. Our future lies in free exchange of ideas and communications, and anything that works contrary to this should be opposed.

    We're a planet of billions. Keep things in perspective.

  • So, this court case wasn't so much for MySpace, but for all online communities. I myself am not a MySpace fan, as I think they do nothing to help protect its users (See my journal about their lack of ingenuity and innovation).

    However, this call was a necessary one. Although social networking sites should do what they can to help protect its users, they can't be held responsible for lousy parenting!

    In today's society, everyone is always trying to blame someone else, or sue someone else. No one takes the bl

  • Hell yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by norman619 (947520) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:25PM (#18031058)
    I find it sick that parents will try to cash in on their own failure as parents and the misfortune of their child. Why seek 30 million? Why not seek criminal charges if they truly feel the operators of myspace were resp for what happened to their child? 30 million is a money grab. Seeking criminal chrages is seeking justice. Two very different things.
    • 30 million is a money grab.

      It may have been a money grab in this case, but as someone who studies modern lawsuits, I have to say that a lot of them work quite well in that huge financial burdens are more punitive toward the company than criminal charges. For example, whom would go to jail if MySpace was found criminally liable? The CEO? The programmers? Whomever went, it wouldn't punish the company as much as 30 million dollars would.

      Just something to think about -- it probably was a money grab by the paren

  • I have no sympathy for the parents who were too disinterested in their kids' lives to stop this happening in the first place but I have little sympathy for MySpace either.

    You only have to look at a few other large online "monopolies in their own business space" to witness their total arrogance and their complete and utter disdain for anyone but the smallest percentage of their user base that generates them the most income.

    eBay - if you perform a minor miracle of actually getting to one of their employee

  • Come on, let's not dig on the parents parenting skills here, we really don't have enough info to do that. Besides, they're just trying to live the american dream. That is, have something tragic happen to you or someone you love, and then sue some company with deep pockets for millions. I mean, if a parent can't somehow capitalize on their children's pain, what good is having children?
  • Would you let your kid walk around a downtown city, unsupervised? For that matter, how safe would you feel just letting them walk around the local mall by themselves?

    I for one wouldn't do that, and I don't let them wander the net without being supervised.

    Would you sue the city if your kid got kidnapped? Probably not.

    Would you expect your city to take reasonable measures to try and make it as safe as possible? Of course.

    MySpace shouldn't be sued for this. However they probably could implement more in the

  • "case dismissed" != "not guilty".

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