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Other Major Internet Libel Cases

Artificial Intelligence Corp. vs. Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

(N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1993)

In a suit against the Dow Jones News Retrieval Service, defendants moved for dismissal on grounds that plaintiffs' claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Arguing that it was not a "publisher" but, in essence, an eletronic archive, Dow Jones asserted that the statute of limitations should run from the date of initial publication in the underyling newspaper, or, in the alternative, from the date on which the article was first distributed on-line.

Software Incoporated v. Reliability Research, Inc.

(C.D. Cal. 1986)

A Nevada computer bulletin board operator was held subject to jurisdiction in California because allegedly defamatory messages posted on the board could be accessed in the latter state. However, the case also discusses other contacts between defendant and California that contributed to pursuing jurisdiction there. The court stated:

"Through the use of computers, corporations can now transact business and communicate with individuals in several cases simultaneously...while modern technology has made nationwide commecial transactions simpler and more feasible, even for small businesses, it must broaded correspondingly the permissible scope of jurisdiction exercisable by the courts."

Godfrey v. Halam-Baker

(Financial Times, Saturday, August 13, 1994)

In this case, British physicist Laurence Godfrey sued fellow physicist Philip Halam-Baker for defamatory statements allegedly transmitted via the Internet from Germany and Switzerland, and read by colleagues of Godfrey in Britain. The case settled out of court early in 1995, leaving the novel and important questions of international jurisdiction and applicability of law unresolved.

Medphone Corp. v. DeNegris

Civ. Action No. 069400012 (D.N.J 1992)

A high-tech equipment manufacturer sued a New Jersey man alleging that he libeled the company by posting disparaging e-mail messages on the "Money Line" electronic bulletin board operated by Prodigy. The defendant, who was a Medphone investor, allegedly criticized the company's stock, management, and financial position. Prodigy was not joined as a defendant, although it was served with a non-party subpoena. The case was settled before the court issued any substantive options.

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