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    ScubaBoard $10M Lawsuit Sparks Online Free Speech Debate

    Think you can say what you want, where you want online? Website operators and forum members may want to think again. The popular online dive hang out, ScubaBoard.com has been slapped with a lawsuit stemming from comments made by its members towards a dive operator in the Maldives. The operator, Maldives Scuba Diving Pvt, Ltd. [...]

    scubaboard lawsuit

    Think you can say what you want, where you want online? Website operators and forum members may want to think again. The popular online dive hang out, ScubaBoard.com has been slapped with a lawsuit stemming from comments made by its members towards a dive operator in the Maldives. The operator, Maldives Scuba Diving Pvt, Ltd. is seeking $10,000,000 USD for damages.

    In the suit, Maldives Scuba Diving is asking for SubaBoard to turn over the names and information of those who have made defamatory statements about the company. ScubaBoard has refused to hand over this information and so far the community is standing behind the website’s legal action (…or inaction). Members have even banded together to make some generous donations to the ScubaBoard legal defense fund. This case could prove extremely influential for large online communities. Should ScubaBoard lose, the legal liability of operating a community based website will drastically increase.  Check out the original court docs here, including Scuba Board’s response.

    The suit is extremely relevant to community based websites, whether they’re blogs such as GBD, or forums such as Reef Central. In either case it begs the question–are websites responsible for the comments of its members / readers?

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    • http://leestacey.com @LStacey

      So if I comment here calling the Dive company a bunch of plums, Glassbox could get sued… Yeah, that's logical…

    • dyraxe

      I would have to say NO, a community website is not responsible for what a member says. They are a public figure/business and just like any famous person they are now subject to public ridicule.

    • Jerad

      That lawsuit is insane. A public forum is just that, and if we are to be sued for any negative feedback we make on a company, it destroys what makes public debate useful.

    • Jonathan

      Sadly, not the first example of this. Google “Novak Vs APD”.

    • knows-more-than-the-litigant

      this suit is a joke. never getting past summary judgment but poor guy will have to shell out serious dough to make it go away.

    • Crushdepth

      So what is the name of this retarded dive company in the Maldives? I would like to know so that I can NEVER GO THERE.

    • Crushdepth

      So what is the name of this retarded dive company in the Maldives? I would like to know so that I can NEVER GO THERE.