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Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co.

1995 WL 323710 (May 24, 1995)

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Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co.

New York Supreme Court

1995 WL 323710 (May 24, 1995)

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Facts

Prodigy Services Company (Prodigy) (defendant) owned and operated a computer network that featured online bulletin boards. Stratton Oakmont (Stratton) (plaintiff) sued Prodigy for libel based on a subscriber's allegedly defamatory messages posted on one of the boards. Stratton argued that Prodigy was a publisher of the messages and, thus, faced liability for libel. Stratton supported this argument by claiming that Prodigy held itself out as a service that exercised editorial control over the content of the messages posted on the bulletin boards. Stratton noted that Prodigy employed Board Leaders who acted as editors for the bulletin boards. Prodigy argued that it changed its earlier policy of manually reviewing all messages long before the messages at issue were posted. However, Prodigy failed to offer any documentation supporting such a change. Stratton filed a motion for partial summary judgment, asking the New York Supreme Court to hold that Prodigy qualified as a publisher and therefore could face liability for libel.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ain, J.)

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