TheDirty.com is the self-proclaimed “World’s largest Gossip Website.” The website and its founder, Hooman Karamian a.k.a. Nik Richie, claims to provide a necessary public service for our society. In 2010, he claimed that his site was “…a form of holding people accountable for their actions.” However, the front page of the website appears to present a variety of content including shaming people allegedly committing dishonest acts, advice columns, and other commentary on recent events.
The website’s front page has a prominently featured, magenta-colored “Submit” button for users of the site to send content to the website. The submitted content can include text, photos, and videos. The site does request the submitter’s contact information and requires submitters to agree to a lengthy legal agreement. In that agreement, submitters give up their rights to content submitted and agree to indemnify the website for any legal action that might be filed. However, while the agreement on the submission pages requires users to certify “that the Content [they] submit is an original work …. or control 100% of the rights,” nowhere in the agreement appearing on the page are users required to certify accuracy or truthfulness. In fact, the site’s TOS states, “Because they are not verified, postings may contain erroneous or inaccurate information.”
If you are facing the consequences of false, baseless and defamatory Internet postings you don’t have to just sit there and take the abuse. Contact the Internet defamation removal attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA today. For a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation call us at (216) 831-0042.
TheDirty.com is a particularly interesting site because it is somewhat different from many pure user-generated sites. Unlike many sites which only post user-generated content, TheDirty.com also editorializes at the end of many articles with bold text signed “- nik” In some cases, this has lead lawyers to argue that the site is not entitled to the broad protections provided to websites that post user-sourced content contained within Section 2309(c) of the Communications Decency Act. This provision states that:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker any information provided by another information content provider.
In one particularly high profile case, Jones v. Dirty world Entertainment Recordings, LLC, a Kentucky court initially found that TheDirty.com was not entitled to these protections. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned that holding.
While TheDirty.com does receive the protections contained within the Section 230, the individual website users who make reports to the site do not receive similar safe harbor. If their posts and reports are found to be false and defamatory, they can be held liable for the damages they inflict. However, TheDirty.com’s approach to potential defamation is non-responsive and obstructionist since the site states that it will not reveal the identity of those who submit reports. The site writes in its FAQ that, “at a minimum you’re going to need a subpoena and in some cases you might have to obtain a court order.” Such an approach is likely to encourage malicious individuals to use the reach and voice of the site for their own purposes.
However, the site’s approach to removal requests isn’t all bad. The site does claim that it will be responsive to DMCA requests when copyrighted photos are published without permission. Furthermore, the site does claim that it will attempt to address instances of revenge porn. Furthermore, if a post makes the claim that a person has an STD, the site also claims that it would be willing to work with the victim if the victim can supply proof that the accusation is false. Even given the above statements though, most people find the site to be unresponsive to most removal request and legal assistance is required to get the website’s attention.
False reports on sites like Thedirty.com can cause serious harm to one’s reputation and standing. The individuals who use defamation to achieve their own goals should be held accountable for the humiliation, embarrassment, lost opportunities, and other damage they inflict on people’s lives.
To schedule a free and confidential Internet defamation removal consultation with the experienced attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA call (216) 831-0042 today. We guarantee the removal of the materials from the offending website or you will receive your money back.