Xcentric Ventures, Operator of RipoffReport Website Wins Precedent-Setting Lawsuit in U.S. District Court

The United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, granted summary judgment in favor of Xcentric Ventures LLC, operator of RipoffReport.com against the plaintiff, Small Justice LLC and its owner Attorney Richard A. Goren. The judgment brings to an end a 2-year dispute during which Mr. Goren attempted to circumvent a Federal law known as the Communications Decency Act.

In a ground-breaking legal case, The United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, granted summary judgment in favor of Xcentric Ventures LLC, operator of RipoffReport against the plaintiff, Small Justice LLC and its owner Attorney Richard A. Goren. The judgment, announced March 27th, brings to an end a 2-year dispute during which Mr. Goren attempted to circumvent a Federal law known as the Communications Decency Act. This law says that websites, such as RipoffReport.com. cannot be held liable for the content posted by third parties.  

The lawsuit stems over a negative post regarding Mr. Goren’s professional and personal behavior placed on the Ripoff Report by a third party. Mr. Goren sued the third party and won a judgment in Massachusetts state court including copyright rights to the posting.  Mr. Goren then proceeded to sue Xcentric Ventures, owner of RipoffReport.com, to remove the negative posting based on the claim that he now owned the copyright to the posting. The United States District Court, District of Massachusetts disagreed and dismissed all claims and granted judgment in favor of Xcentric Ventures.

“The court found that Goren lacked any ownership of the copyrights because Xcentric Ventures already owned those copyrights pursuant to the terms that the author agreed to when posting the complaint on Ripoff Report.” said Maria Crimi Speth, Shareholder with the law firm Jaburg Wilk and attorney for Xcentric Ventures.  “The U.S. District Court also found the state court judge’s purported transfer of copyrights to Goren was invalid under the Copyright Act as an involuntary transfer, “she added.

Ed Magedson, Founder of the Ripoff Report said “Mr. Goren was attempting to circumvent federal laws to serve his own interests. If there were legal ramifications against website owners every time someone defamed another person or company on their website, we would not have chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter or hundreds of other consumer and social media sites.”

Magedson added, “This ruling should once and for all stop individuals or companies from suing website owners and operators from comments posted to the website from outside third parties. The court made it clear you are not going to manipulate Federal Copyright laws and freedom of speech on the internet in this country.”

Ripoff Report stressed that it works hard to eliminate tactics that are perceived to be cyberharassment, cyberstalking, cyberbullying or what is generally considered to be a “revenge post”. Postings of this nature are rejected and/or redacted if found on the website.  Ripoff Report’s Terms of Services forbid postings of predominantly personal attacks or criminal allegations against another person without any proof being offered with it. Due to the Ripoff Report’s popularity and based on law enforcement requests, Ripoff Report has instigated a new Law Enforcement Investigation Policy to improve coordination with law enforcement investigations and judicial findings.  The new policy states that the Ripoff Report will redact a report to remove the name of a reported business and associated owners when the following three conditions are met: 1) A criminal court issues a specific findings that the author of a report is not the customer of the reported business AND 2) the report is entirely false AND 3) the author had an evil or fraudulent motive for posting the false report.  The findings of the court must be supported by clear and convincing evidence from a law enforcement investigation proving the findings.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Ron Meritt at (480) 225-0722. 

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Categories: Corporate Law, Commercial Law, Business, Law