An article from Reuters (appearing on Yahoo) details the findings of an LA Circuit Court Judge who decided yesterday to throw out the case of a man who has sued eBay for libel over negative feedback on their service.
The case involved an eBay user who claims that eBay should verify and police their feedback sections in order to make sure that the written comments are verifiable.
In the end, the judge decided that eBay falls under the protection of the Communications Decency Act as a common carrier and therefore is not responsible for what its customers post in response to auctions.
The man suing eBay (an attorney, no big surprise there, and a publisher of legal journals) thinks that the CDA should apply only to people who provide links to the internet and not to people who run web sites.
He went on to state that he thought that eBay's liability should be the equivalent of his own liability in published works that he produces.
Now, whereas that may be a nice metaphor if you are a lawyer, for anyone who uses or understands the web, it just doesn't hold up as a valid argument. In the end, a published work doesn't allow just anybody to write just anything in it. That is the essence of being a common carrier, anybody can do just about anything and therefore it is impossible and unreasonable to police it.