Court rules against family driven out of town due to MySpace rant

Cynthia Moreno will be careful about what she puts on the internet in future. Her family has just lost a lawsuit against their local newspaper after they were driven out of their hometown following a minor rant on MySpace by the daughter.

Cynthia, originally from Coalinga, California, had just visited her family and returned to the University of California at Berkeley. She composed a short blog entry on her MySpace page, titled “Ode to Coalinga”, which began “the older I get, the more I realize how much I despise Coalinga”. It detailed her frustrations with her hometown and made a bunch of negative comments.

She probably amused a few of her top eight with it, some of whom were likely from Coalinga themselves. One person who wasn’t amused, though, was the principal of Coalinga High School, who spotted it and sent it to Pamela Pond – the editor of the local newspaper, the Coalinga Record.

Pond considered this a submission, for some reason, and printed it on the letters page of the paper. The community was incensed. Cynthia’s parents, David and Maria, and her younger sister Araceli, claim that they received death threats and gun shots were fired at their home. Her father’s business, which had been going strong for 20 years, was forced to close because it lost so much money. The family had to move out of town.

The Morenos filed a lawsuit against the principal of the school, the newspaper and its publishers, as well as the local school district. They alleged invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress. On 2nd April, however, the judge ruled against them, stating that:

“Cynthia’s affirmative act made her article available to any person with a computer and, thus, opened it to the public eye. Under these circumstances, no reasonable person would have had an expectation of privacy regarding the published material.”

The judge did rule, however, that their complaint of emotional distress should go before a jury. The family contend that the principal didn’t have permission to submit the blog post to the paper, so it’ll be interesting to see whether a jury agrees.

In the meantime, what do you think? It seems clear that a silly blog post shouldn’t have to force a family to move out of a town. Who’s in the wrong – the girl? the principal? the newspaper editor? Maybe just the population of the town for overreacting? Let us know your opinion on Twitter – message us at @techdigest.

(via Law.com)

Speak Swedish? Speak English? Want to help The Pirate Bay live-blog its imminent copyright trial via Twitter?

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Then step right up! The Pirate Bay, the mega piracy portal which always goes to great lengths to point out it doesn’t actually host the files it catalogues, is going to court very soon – charged with, well, you can probably guess. Letting the world watch Quantum of Solace without having to go to the cinema or HMV.

A live audio feed of the Bay’s trial will be made available online, but the problem is it’s all being conducted in Sweden. In Swedish. And with the best will in the world, Swedish could never be described as the language of the internet. We’d imagine it’s only the third most popular language even in Sweden…

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Founded as an IRC channel and quickly growing into full micro-blog status, the idea of FMyLife is to broadcast an unrelenting stream of misery and examples of forehead-slapping idiocy people have encountered, creating a nice antidote to the cheerful, kitten-related rubbish spewed out by most vacuous…

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It is, of course, a joke. And a very good one. The sort of joke most of us will go to the grave without having created…

Blog of the week: Fuck You, Penguin

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Do you know an animal that needs a good talking to? Fuck You Penguin does just that. Quoting from the strapline, it’s “A blog where I tell cute animals what’s what.”

There’s quite a bit of swearing, but it’s wonderful to see someone so apoplectic with rage at the concept of a beaver wearing a shirt, or calling Mooses dorky. My favourite though? That’ll be this one.

Fuck You, Penguin (via @laurent_fintoni)

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