Monday, April 24, 2006

Legal Implications of Don'tdatehimgirl.com

"It's the rare woman who hasn't warned another woman away from dating one of her ex-boyfriends. But now, a website has brought this informal mode of social control to the Internet, and formalized it. The site is called Don'tdatehimgirl.com. On it, women aim to alert other women across the country to the cheaters, and other bad apples, in their dating pool. (In a sense, it's the evil twin of another site, GreatBoyfriends.com, where women recommend their exes to other women.)

Doubtless, the men who appear on this site must feel aggrieved - irrespective of whether the postings about them are false or true. Even someone who truly behaved badly in the past may wish for a fresh start. And typically, these men have committed no crime: With a few exceptions, this isn't a private Megan's List, publicizing convictions that are already public record (a development I'd welcome for violent or coercive offenses.) The site offers men a right of reply - saying it will post their reply next to the original posting. But some men may feel this isn't enough, especially since the posting may sit there for a while before they even become aware of it. Obviously, the men have the option of attempting to sue the women who post information about them, if they can figure out who they are. (The site gives women the option of posting anonymously, so the men may need to subpoena the site for user information before they can even begin a suit against the woman who's the source of the information. And the site may well fight such subpoenas.) But what if the men also want to go after the site itself, hoping it has deep pockets?" By Julie Hilden, FindLaw Legal News and Commentary Link to Article (last visited 4-23-04 NVS)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2006/04/legal_implicati.html

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