Monday, October 12, 2015

Wisconsin gun downstream liability case could set precedents in Internet liability cases, too




I don’t usually cover the Second Amendment “debate” on this blog, as it is usually farther away from speech and technology issues. 
  
But there is a lawsuit in Wisconsin against a gun shop claiming downstream liability for a wrongful death after what was apparently technically a legal gun sale, even if possibly in bad faith.  The detailed story by Erik Eckholm is here

The parallel issue in the free speech world would be downstream liability for service providers for harm done by otherwise lawful content posted by users.  That gets into the DMCA Safe Harbor and especially the Section 230 issues. 
  
For example. Reasoning along with the plaintiffs in the gun case above, would Facebook or YouTube be liable for a wrongful death or suicide that follows on to cyberbullying because it provides a platform that it knows many immature end users will leverage to bully or harm others.  Or would good faith efforts to enforce reasonable T.O.S. be enough.  But I do see a legally dangerous parallel here. 

Update: October 13

The plaintiff police officers did win their case with the jury today, story

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