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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Authors

Connor Moran

Abstract

Websites are normally immune to suits arising from illegal user-posted content due to 42 USC § 230. Victims of illegal postings must therefore bring suit, if at all, against the original posters. However, when websites refuse to take down illegal content, a suit against an original poster might not provide relief. In the recent case Blockowicz v. Williams, a family won a default judgment against persons posting defamatory content to Ripoff Report. But the plaintiffs could not contact the defendant to enforce the judgment, and thus they sought enforcement of an injunction against Ripoff Report. The court refused because Ripoff Report was not a party to the action. As a result, the top Google hit for the Blockowicz family name remains a defamatory posting. This Article considers how the traditional exceptions to the rule that injunctions do not bind nonparties apply in the context of the relationship between a poster and a website and when, if ever, a nonparty website might be bound by an injunction against a poster. This Article also discusses alternative remedies plaintiffs can seek if they are unable to obtain an injunction against a nonparty website.

First Page

47

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