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I thought the Fool on the Hill article was very nicely done. However, the First Amendment was brought up several times. Such as:

>>>
Anyway, in response to the news of the lawsuit, here at Fool HQ we've received a few requests for comments on "what this all means to our First Amendment rights and the future of message board discussions."

<<<

The First Amendment only protects you from Government censorship. Therefore, if Yahoo wanted to pull the post or censor the post, they would have every right to do so. To me, this makes it interesting that CSFB is suing the posters directly and not suing Yahoo at all. Companies like AOL and Yahoo and the Fool have argued successfully, and they seem to have won, that they are not liable for what their customers post. They have argued that there are laws (like the slander laws) that exist already to regulate this speech and no special internet laws are needed.

In the end, I believe the free market will speak. Message boards with more oversight, to hopefully provide a more sane posting environment like the Motley Fool, will be preferred and win out over free for all environments like Yahoo or misc.stocks.

It is hard to feel pity for CSFB and I agree with the article that no real economic harm could have been done. If anything, it has made the analyst more famous (or infamous) which will probably be good for CSFB long term. Hopefully the article will also be correct in thinking that publicity over this suit will highlight the differences between different styles of message board hosting.

Patrick

A Fool and his money are soon partying
;-)
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>>I thought the Fool on the Hill article was very nicely done. However, the First Amendment was brought up several times. Such as:
>>> Anyway, in response to the news of the lawsuit, here at Fool HQ we've received a few requests for comments on "what this all means to our First Amendment rights and the future of message board discussions." <<<
>> The First Amendment only protects you from Government censorship. Therefore, if Yahoo wanted to pull the post or censor the post, they would have every right to do so.


I've also seen this stated several times. No one is saying that Yahoo or Motley Fool pulling posts violates the First Amendment rights of the posters. The real point is that what this suit does is to use government processes to punish people for their speech...suing them in a court of law with the intent of silencing them (referred to others on this and other boards as a SLAPP suit). In this case, an entity with large amounts of money using the government to punish free speech of people with limited means to defend themselves, and to prevent further speech by them.

Also, do you really think this is going to be a good thing for CSFB? This suit has been mentioned, in a negative light, on virtually every message board I participate on (Yahoo, Motley Fool and Raging Bull). Wouldn't a massive negative impression amoung individual investors have at most a neutral, if not wholly negative, impact on CSFB?
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No. of Recommendations: 3
this makes it interesting that CSFB is suing the posters directly and not suing Yahoo at all.

Yahoo, the Motley Fool, AOL and every other provider of message boards, has been granted immunity from defamation suits for comments made by forum participants (section 270 of the Commuications Decency Act). The US Supreme Court has affirmed the validity of that immunity in Zeran v. AOL.

In addition, TMF, AOL, Yahoo and others, can edit and delete posts at will without fear of retribution. They do not become editors liable for the commens of others merely because they have edited.

The comments by TMF Max were, in my opinion, appalling. I have seen many of the messages, and they amount to little more than 3rd grade name calling. Folks have a right to act like this. We take the bad with the good when we talk about free speech. Required reading in this regard is the seminal case of NY Times v. Sullivan, which can be found here:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=376&invol=254

This ELN suit, and others like it (I am defense counsel in one such suit) appear to be intended to chill the free speech that people enjoy, and to punish them with legal fees.

This is a fundamentally improper use of the Courts, and an attempt to infringe on the rights of others to participate in free speech.

This suit was brought in New York, and from reading comments on the Yahoo board, it appears that many of the people involved (if not all) do not live in New York and likely have no contact with New York. Thus, it is likley the Court will have no jurisdiction to hear the matter if John Does 1-10 are served with papers, as these people must have some type of minumum contacts with New York in order to be haled into Court here.

If the case is pursued, it is likely to be dismissed, and the plaintiffs know this if their counsel knows what he is doing.

Thus, it appears that this suit was brought for its intimidation factor only, and to punish with legal fees.

--ETurkey
(formerly TMF Turk and formerly Fool Counsel)
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Hello Eric,

I'm sure happy to see you here!

You said; Yahoo, the Motley Fool, AOL and every other provider of message boards, has been granted immunity from defamation suits for comments made by forum participants (section 270 of the Commuications Decency Act). The US Supreme Court has affirmed the validity of that immunity in Zeran v. AOL.

Excellent! I'm glad you cleared that up for us.

You added; This ELN suit, and others like it (I am defense counsel in one such suit) appear to be intended to chill the free speech that people enjoy, and to punish them with legal fees.

This is a fundamentally improper use of the Courts, and an attempt to infringe on the rights of others to participate in free speech.


I agree with you and sure hope the court does too. In my opinion CSFB is trying to stop critics from speaking their minds or rendering their opinions by using the courts instead of the hooded men who went after our Freedom of Speech in the past. Intimidation and legal fees now instead of the ole dungeon and rack?

Thanks for sharing your legal opinion with us.

Best wishes,

Sharon aka Spirit
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