MySpace vindicated in case of sexual predator

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Gadgets

I don't know from MySpace. When you get to be my age, there are just some things you don't get, I guess. It seems a thirteen-year-old girl from Texas set up a MySpace account claiming to be 18. She met up with a nineteen-year-old man for dinner and a movie, and, it seems, sex. He was arrested and the parents sued MySpace for not protecting their daughter. The judge didn't see it quite that way. Judge Sam Sparks wrote in his ruling dismissing the case, "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."

The judge also noted that MySpace has a minimum age of fourteen and the girl lied about her age in order to access the website. The girl also talked with the man on the telephone for several weeks before meeting, although the phone company was not included in the lawsuit. The Electronic Frontier Foundation lauded the decision. "The soap box is not liable for what the speaker has said or done," said Kurt Opsahl, a staff attorney for the EFF. "These services could not exist in a world where the services were liable for what the user had done."

As you might guess, I'm pretty happy about this outcome. If the parents had prevailed, it would have far reaching effects, including, most likely, necessitating the elimination of our user comments. I don't know about you, but I don't have a spare $30m lying around. While I'm sorry about what happened to this girl, I'm glad of the decision on this lawsuit.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.