The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.
(Reuters) - If the doomsday predictions are right, a Philadelphia morning news anchor and two federal appellate judges just broke the internet.
On Thursday, a divided 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Hepp v. Facebook, Inc that news anchor Karen Hepp can sue Facebook for running a dating-service advertisement that featured an unauthorized photo of Hepp, a local celebrity in Philadelphia. The 3rd Circuit majority held that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not preclude Hepp’s suit because the law’s broad immunity for internet publishers includes an exception for intellectual property claims under both state and federal law.
The majority -- Judges Peter Phipps and Thomas Hardiman, in an opinion by Hardiman -- said its interpretation was textual, since Congress didn’t specifically distinguish between state and federal intellectual property rights in enacting an exception to Section 230 immunity. But Hardiman also said the court’s holding was consistent with the law’s goal of “preserving the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the internet.”