Hutcherson Law Submits Declaration on Ripoff Report Content Removal
"This declaration is significant as it makes a matter of public record the fact that, even under the protections of the Communications Decency Act, all online content is subject to legal negotiation," stated Kenton Hutcherson, Founder of Hutcherson Law.
The Ripoff Report is a self-proclaimed “consumer advocacy” website that boasts that it enjoys legal immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for defamatory statements posted by others on its website. Based upon this asserted immunity, Ripoff Report’s terms of service contain explicit policies stating that content will not be removed from the website even if the content’s creator requests it.
"The Communications Decency Act provides immunities that have been instrumental in the explosive growth of the Internet in this country," commented Kenton Hutcherson, Founder of Hutcherson Law. "Still, as with any broadly sculpted law, this Act does not provide absolute justice in all situations, and our legal system allows business owners and individuals alike to challenge it."
On May 15, 2009, Kenton Hutcherson resolved a legal dispute between his client and Xcentric Ventures, LLC. As a part of the terms of the settlement agreement, Xcentric Ventures LLC agreed to prevent future submissions related to Hutcherson’s client from appearing on the Ripoff Report website.
After that settlement, however, an anonymous party submitted report number 510675 about Hutcherson’s client to the website. Contrary to the agreement, Ripoff Report published this report. On October 19, 2009, Hutcherson made a demand to remove this report to Xcentric Ventures, LLC. Shortly thereafter, Ripoff Report removed the disputed content.
Ripoff Report then removed a second report about Hutcherson’s same client, report number 540506, on December 28, 2009, in response to a similar demand made by Hutcherson. The declaration submitted by Hutcherson captures the facts related to the demands and the removal of the content.
Internet related disputes are complicated as the case law evolves almost as fast as the technologies on the Internet. This evolution has resulted in both the retooling of traditional law firms and the emergence of new firms of Internet lawyers like Hutcherson Law to meet the market demands of a growing number of plaintiffs and defendants in Internet related disputes.
Hutcherson Law is currently serving as lead counsel in a separate case against Xcentric Ventures, LLC and Edward Magedson, the manager of Xcentric Ventures, LLC and “EDitor” of Ripoff Report, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. In that lawsuit, Hutcherson Law is challenging Xcentric Ventures and Edward Magedson’s assertion of immunity under the Communications Decency Act.
Founded in 2007, Hutcherson Law is a Texas-based law firm with deep experience in Internet-related law including online defamation litigation, copyright law, trademark law, and the interpretation of Internet laws including the Communications Decency Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as it pertains to the needs of middle-market businesses. Hutcherson Law's client list includes businesses across the country in vertical markets including financial services, consulting, medicine, and law.
The following document is the actual declaration filed by attorney Kenton Hutcherson that was filed in United States District Court Central District of California as a part of a legal proceeding on behalf of Asia Economic Institute LLC versus Xcentric Ventures LLC d/b/a RipOffReport.Com