a. Peruse MySpace.com, a highly popular social networking site. Go to www.myspace.com. If you are not a member of MySpace, use the log-in provided via email. Spend at least fifteen minutes exploring MySpace pages. Use the "Classmate Finder" tool located under the heading "Search" to find current students at your high school.
b. Read this article to get a sense of the user demographics of social networking sites.
c. Get a sense of the monetary value of social-networking sites.
a. Read the following articles to get a general understanding of the problems associated with the use of social networking sites. Query whether these situations give rise to liability for the social networking site itself.
i. http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060213/NEWS/60213002/1002/NEWS01 (Be sure to look at the safety tips at the end of the article.)
iii. Problems at the University of Michigan: http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-19/115772688944620.xml&coll=2
a. Go to the homepages of Xanga, Facebook, and Myspace and look around until you find the "tips" page detailing instructions for safe use of the site. Note whether this page is easy to find and whether it is associated with a log-in or join screen. Scan these safety tips.
b. Also take a brief look at the liability disclaimers on MySpace and Facebook.
a. Federal Regulation
i. See this helpful article by William B. Baker for an overview of potential federal regulation. http://www.wrf.com/publication_newsletters.cfm?sp=newsletter&year=2006&ID=10&publication_id=12743&keyword
1. Take a look at the text of DOPA. http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/h/h5319.pdf
2. Read Wikipedia’s explanation of the proposed law. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deleting_Online_Predators_Act_of_2006
3. Look at Anita Ramasastry’s negative commentary regarding DOPA. http://writ.news.findlaw.com/ramasastry/20060807.html
b. State Regulation
V. Should social-networking sites themselves be subject to liability?
a. Take a look at an article by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (a plaintiffs’ bar organization) regarding the potential liability of social networking sites. http://www.atla.org/homepage/trial.aspx.
i. Read the complaint in Doe v. MySpace, Inc. Pay particular attention to the causes of action alleged by the plaintiff. http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/myspacecomplaint.pdf.
ii. See Anita Ramasastry’s comments on the case. http://writ.news.findlaw.com/ramasastry/20060626.html
i. If interested, look at the consent decree in the Xanga case: http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0623073/xangaconsentdecree_image.pdf#search=%22xanga%20liability%22. (Optional reading.)
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