Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conviction in MySpace impersonation/suicide case

NY Times reports:
LOS ANGELES — A federal jury here issued what legal experts said was the country’s first cyberbullying verdict Wednesday, convicting a Missouri woman of three misdemeanor charges of computer fraud for her involvement in creating a phony account on MySpace to trick a teenager, who later committed suicide.
This is not a copyright case - but is a very important cyberlaw case because it involves the question of whether a federal statute imposing criminal penalties aimed at combatting computer crimes can be used to prosecute what were arguably only abuses of a user agreement on a social networking site (MySpace).

It will be recalled that a teenage girl, Megan Meirer, hanged herself after being bullied and tricked by a middle aged woman named Lori Drew who impersonated a fictitious teenage boy named "Josh Evans" on MySpace.

It sounds like a bad horror movie. But its for real.

Question - as my wonderful torts professor Harry Glasbeek and many others have always asked - do hard cases make bad law?


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