You've got to be kidding me...seriously

This is a discussion on You've got to be kidding me...seriously within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I don't know how anyone could possibly fathom the idea of suing an internet site (myspace.com - in case you ...

  1. #1
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    You've got to be kidding me...seriously

    I don't know how anyone could possibly fathom the idea of suing an internet site (myspace.com - in case you haven't heard) because their kid got raped. I'm sorry, that's just stupid. I pray to God the lawsuit does not win. What happens when some underage girl gets picked up by some guy in the local mall? All of a sudden the mall is responsible for it? Does this women actually believe she should be awarded 30 million dollars for her bad parenting. That's absolutely ridiculous.


    And by the way:
    (Excerpt from Myspace.com terms of service)
    Limitation on Liability. IN NO EVENT SHALL MYSPACE.COM BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFIT DAMAGES ARISING FROM YOUR USE OF THE SERVICES, EVEN IF MYSPACE.COM HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY CONTAINED HEREIN, MYSPACE.COM'S LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY CAUSE WHATSOEVER AND REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF THE ACTION, WILL AT ALL TIMES BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT PAID, IF ANY, BY YOU TO MYSPACE.COM FOR THE SERVICES DURING THE TERM OF MEMBERSHIP.
    Last edited by computation; 06-22-2006 at 03:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Supermassive black hole cboard_member's Avatar
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    It's like if my dog bites a burglar, it's my fault and the dog has to be put down. The burglar is free to sue my ass off too.

    We live in a ........ed up legal system. Well, world.
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  3. #3
    Ethernal Noob
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    how is this different than Jack Thompson and friends suing games because teenagers are psychos?

  4. #4
    The Right Honourable psychopath's Avatar
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    It isn't.
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  5. #5
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychopath
    It isn't.
    They're both stupid, but that's the only thing that they have in common. I seriously doubt anyone's saying that myspace acutally turns people into killers, which is what Jackie-boy says about games.

  6. #6
    A Banana Yoshi's Avatar
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    Thank god I live in Canada...

    In Hong Kong, if you do this, you will:

    -get laughed out of court.
    -get owned by the public.

    Just look at the one bus person "Hong Kong Bus Uncle"... He got hired at a steak house and the public threatened to boycott the store; and everywhere he goes, he was seen as a social outcast, the wives practically talked in front of him.

    Those people just need a constant dose of "Hey, look, it is the money stealers..." in front of their face and they'll never sue anything stupid again.
    Last edited by Yoshi; 06-22-2006 at 02:52 PM.
    Yoshi

  7. #7
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    > Just look at the one bus person "Hong Kong Bus Uncle"... He got hired at a steak house and the public threatened to boycott the store

    huh?

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    But is myspace somehow negligent for not putting proper controls in place? And if there is negligence, what sort of punitive damage is appropriate? How much does myspace make in revenue? And how much would a 30 million lawsuit hurt it, and would it hurt enough that myspace would put in place the kinds of controls that arguably should have been there from the beginning?

    Devil's advocate. Sorry.
    The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. Doubtless this is so. But it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.

  9. #9
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IfYouSaySo
    But is myspace somehow negligent for not putting proper controls in place?
    Yes. It could be so. However their disclaimer (if legally recognized) does free them from most situations. Problem was for anyone to explain to the judge exactly how could myspace have protected the girl from being rapped. Since the rape didn't take place in myspace. My space is a virtual place.

    Quote Originally Posted by IfYouSaySo
    And if there is negligence, what sort of punitive damage is appropriate?
    Huge!

    Quote Originally Posted by IfYouSaySo
    How much does myspace make in revenue? And how much would a 30 million lawsuit hurt it, and would it hurt enough that myspace would put in place the kinds of controls that arguably should have been there from the beginning?
    30 million is a lot of money. It would hurt them. It would hurt Microsoft. Even though 30 million is pocket change to them.

    The whole situation is ridiculous though. Myspace cannot be liable in any way. If the rappist actually informed the girl through myspace communication channels that he was going to rape her, and forced her through these same channels for her to meet him, myspace cannot be blamed. It was not a rape. It was consensual. If on the other hand the girl was duped to meet the man, then the rape took place on a context outside myspace sphere of control. myspace is not liable.

    EDIT: my opinion only. I'm in no way close to be a lawyer. Just annoyed that the parents who are supposed to be protecting the girl, not only failed at this, but in the name of money are willing to expose her to the general public after she having experienced such a drama in her life. Some parents should have never been.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 06-22-2006 at 03:53 PM.
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  10. #10
    Moderately Rabid Decrypt's Avatar
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    First, the income of a company does not, and should not, provide any input on the validity of a liability lawsuit.
    Secondly,
    is myspace somehow negligent for not putting proper controls in place?
    Is Zwilling-Henckels or Chicago Cutlery liable if I stab my wife when she comes home from work since they did not put the proper controls in their knives, making them unusable by malicious husbands? Absolutely not. It's a wildly exaggerated analogy, yes, but the premise is the same: Their product does not cause damage or put people in danger when used as it is intended. The only "controls" that should be in place are by the users. With knives and websites.

    I don't know anything about the case in question, but since parents were referenced, my first assumption is that a minor ran off and met some pedophile they met through myspace who then raped the minor. What "controls" might have prevented such a thing?

    1 - Better parenting. I know, I know. Kids these days, can't keep them in line. Too busy with work and yoga and bar-league softball. Keep track of your kids - where are they, who are they meeting with, etc. Also, teach them some common sense and responsibility, which brings me to #2:

    Common sense. No one ever likes to fault the victim in any situation, but let's face it - sometimes people put themselves in stupid situations. I'm not saying it's the kid's fault. That said, doing stupid things increases your risk of becoming a bad headline. Common sense tells you that if talking to a stranger is bad when you're 5, running off to meet a stranger you met online and have to be secretive about when you're 14 is not a good idea. I take that back. Running off to meet a stranger you met online and have to be secretive about is probably never a good idea. Along that line, it's common sense to monitor what your kid is up to. The internet is a big place with lots of bad people. You should probably watch them.


    Punishment is a form of control, in the sense IfYouSaySo used. It's used to keep others from performing the same action, and to keep offenders from re-offending. (Not that it works all the time, but that's the (very) basic idea.) How does suing myspace.com keep this sort of thing from happening? It doesn't. The parents suing are making myspace.com the fall guy for their mistakes, and the mistakes of their children. There's a nice parental lesson for you:
    "No, honey. None of this was our fault. I didn't fail you by not keeping track of you. I didn't fail you by not teaching you to keep yourself out of dangerous situations. You didn't make a mistake by running off with a stranger. It's that evil, irresponsible myspace.com for allowing two people to contant each other over the internet! They're the bad guys, and we're going to make them pay for it!!!"

    Punish the rapist (as harshly as possible). The parents aren't punshable for child abuse as the law stands, so they get off. Without the $30M.
    There is a difference between tedious and difficult.

  11. #11
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    How does suing myspace.com keep this sort of thing from happening?
    By compelling myspace to come up with a reasonable scheme that will offer more protection.

    Now discussing the issue, I do think that myspace has a certain responsibility, and it's a greater responsibility than many other businesses have. They are catering to children. Myspace can't assume that kids will always apply common sense. Kids are naive--i.e. they lack the life experience to know better. And if myspace is going to provide a service that kids have access to; if they're going to cater to kids, they should provide some mechanism to exclude adults from that community. It shouldn't be too hard to separate the two groups--one area for kids, and another for adults. I know there are problems with this, there are issues to be overcome, but really. Are you going to tell me that there simply isn't a solution? I'm sure if you were going to be paid 30 million dollars, you could find a solution...

    First, the income of a company does not, and should not, provide any input on the validity of a liability lawsuit
    Not the validity, no. But once liability has been found, I'm sure it will figure into the amount of damages to be awarded. And I doubt that $30million would ruin myspace.
    The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. Doubtless this is so. But it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.

  12. #12
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    Mildly related, I found this interesting article on Tort reform:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0122-11.htm
    The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. Doubtless this is so. But it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.

  13. #13
    Rad gcn_zelda's Avatar
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    Here's what the talk show pundits and columnists neglected to mention about the McDonalds coffee burn case:

    79 year old Stella Liebeck suffered third degree burns on her groin and inner thighs while trying to add sugar to her coffee at a McDonalds drive through. Third degree burns are the most serious kind of burn. McDonalds knew it had a problem. There were at least 700 previous cases of scalding coffee incidents at McDonalds before Liebeck's case. McDonalds had settled many claim before but refused Liebeck's request for $20,000 compensation, forcing the case into court. Lawyers found that McDonalds makes its coffee 30-50 degrees hotter than other restaurants, about 190 degrees. Doctors testified that it only takes 2-7 seconds to cause a third degree burn at 190 degrees. McDonalds knew its coffee was exceptionally hot but testified that they had never consulted with burn specialist. The Shriner Burn Institute had previously warned McDonalds not to serve coffee above 130 degrees. And so the jury came back with a decision- $160,000 for compensatory damages. But because McDonalds was guilty of "willful, reckless, malicious or wanton conduct" punitive damages were also applied. The jury set the award at $2.7 million. The judge then reduced the fine to less than half a million. Ms. Liebeck then settled with McDonalds for a sum reported to be much less than a half million dollars. McDonald's coffee is now sold at the same temperature as most other restaurants.
    What the writer of this article is forgetting is that the damage to the woman was absolutely irrelevant. Because it was not McDonalds fault at all that she happened to spill coffee on herself. Edit: I suppose the previous warning does put them in a bad situation. I guess that's why this case doesn't/shouldn't set any precedents for any Myspace suits.

    Let me give an example:
    I buy a chainsaw. I use it and cut my leg off because I wasn't being careful. I sue Home Depot, where I bought the chainsaw. So, I have no leg now. Does that make Home Depot any more at fault?

    It's the exact same concept as the Myspace thing.

    You know, I don't remember people suing Yahoo! or GMail or AOL for rapings due to rendezvous set up over email.
    Last edited by gcn_zelda; 06-22-2006 at 05:20 PM.

  14. #14
    Slave MadCow257's Avatar
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    What the writer of this article is forgetting is that the damage to the woman was absolutely irrelevant. Because it was not McDonalds fault at all that she happened to spill coffee on herself.
    I thought everyone agreed that 2.7 million was quite a reasonable suit?? 700+ previous cases and 30-50 degrees over necessary amount = reckless behavior

    The chainsaw analogy is closer to the mc donalds case then this myspace thing, and even that's a stretch

    My thought on the thing is this: 30 million is too much, but the suit is very valid if we can come up with a non intrusive safeguard that My Space could implement in a reasonable amount of time. This would suggest negligance on thier part, otherwise it's just the nature of the game

  15. #15
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    When I buy a cup of coffee, I expect it to be hot, but not so hot that spilling a little bit of it can cause 3rd degree burns in less than 2 seconds (clearly that's unreasonably hot, isn't it)? And that was the root cause of the injury (not the fact that it was spilled)?

    Anyway, I'm not saying that the parents don't bear some responsibility. And maybe the girl was partly to blame also (poor decisions on her part). But it's also fair to say that there might be a legal basis for holding myspace responsible to some extent.
    The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. Doubtless this is so. But it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.

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