A shortlist of recent Twitter-related legal articles

Joshua N. Azriel, Social Networking As A Communications Weapon To Harm Victims: Facebook, Myspace, And Twitter Demonstrate A Need To Amend Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act, John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law, Volume 26, Number 3, Spring 2009, 415. (Subscription Required)


The article discusses how social networking sites can pose a danger to victims of online offensive content. Part II provides an overall analysis of the dangers the Internet, especially social networking, poses to victims. Part III reviews Section 230 of the CDA, including the “Good Samaritan” provisions for social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Part IV analyzes three recent court cases that demonstrate how these social networking tools are used as weapons to harm victims. Part V concludes with a discussion of how the growing number of online incidents stem from social networking sites. It recommends that Congress should amend the CDA to clarify the penalty for individuals who post offensive content on the Internet, including social networking sites. 
Daniel W. Gerber and Michael D. Shalhoub, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet – Understanding the Synergism Among Social Media”, For the Defense, Supplement, November 2009, 26. (Membership Required)
Ahnalese Rushmann, “Courtroom coverage in 140 characters“, News Media & the Law, Volume 33, Number 2, Spring 2009, 28.
James Tumbridge, Twitter: who’s really there?, Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Volume 5, Number 2, February 2010, 116-118 (Subscription Required )

Legal context: Twitter is readable by anyone with web access, and Tweets can be searched for and read from a variety of mobile devices, allowing onward trans-mission to others by the recipient reader at considerable speed.

Key points: Twitter has the ability to rapidly disseminate information that could have a major impact on a brand, or on a person’s standing. However, should a tweet cause you or your brand harm, you may not know the true source since tweets are often posted by persons using pseudonyms or worse people pretending to be someone they are not. 
Practical significance: In this fast evolving world it is important to know what action can be taken if you suffer harm, and what ability you have to trace the true source of any harmful ‘tweet.’
Georgia Warren, “Service via Twitter—the UK Courts Embrace Technology”, Entertainment Law Review, Volume 21, Issue 2, 2010, 81 (Subscription Required)


In October 2009, on an application by an individual aggrieved at being “impersonated” on Twitter, the High Court permitted service of an injunction via the social networking site, giving further confirmation of the English courts’ increasing acceptance and use of technology.

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