Giving users a plain deal: Contract-related media liability for unmasking anonymous commenters

Amy Kristin Sanders, Patrick C. File

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Could news organizations face civil liability for voluntarily unmasking their anonymous online commenters? This article examines that nascent legal question through a discussion of contract law applied to a study of seven news Web sites' policies and practices. The study finds that although the news organizations claim that they zealously guard user privacy and will resist unmasking commenters under almost any circumstances, most of them have user agreements that would likely immunize them from civil liability for almost any reason. Are users getting a plain deal?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-226
Number of pages30
JournalCommunication Law and Policy
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Law

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