by John W. Dozier
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July 12, 2009
Last week, the Judge in the MySpace criminal case indicated he found the statute, as applied in the case, to be unconstitional and is preparing a detailed opinion on the matter. It's a case that every Internet lawyer should be following, and that seems likely with all the commentary from Internet lawyer types weighing in on the case. The primary objection, again, according to the trial judge, is that if the statute is applied as it was in this case, vast numbers of MySpace members would be at risk of criminal prosecution. The debate will rage on, and at Traverse Internet Law our Internet lawyers are monitoring this decision and case.
Our Internet lawyers see this as another example of the need to draft specific laws addressing malicious actions. Congress and state legislatures need to pass a law that will make this type of conduct a criminal offense. We suspect there are civil lawsuits to come against the perpetrators. While every Internet lawyer waits to see how this will play out, and whether this Judge's interpretation will be adopted by other courts, none of whom it is binding upon, the legislative branches need to act.
Even the most jaded free speech fanatic cannot help but wonder how we find ourselves, 15 years after the Internet took off commercially and moved into the public conscience, without adequate criminal laws to cover this type of misconduct.