Monday, October 5, 2009

Anti-Video Game Activist Suing Facebook

Jack Thompson is a disbarred attorney and anti-video game activist who inspired a Facebook group called "I Hate Jack Thompson." On it, one user commented, "Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600." So, Jack Thompson is suing Facebook. Of course. And he wants $120 million.

Thompson was disbarred for filing frivolous lawsuits, lying to tribunals, humiliating litigants, and general misconduct. In fact, one of conditions of his disbarment stipulates Thompson cannot file suit without the signature of an attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar. Thompson spent most of his career campaigning against what he deems obscenity in American pop-culture, including rap music, Howard Stern, and (most famously) sex and violence in video games.

Thompson claims the statements made in the Facebook group caused him "emotional distress" and that Facebook was negligent in removing the offending content. Facebook said the case was "without merit" and they would "fight it vigorously." Thompson's case has attracted even more members to the "I Hate Jack Thompson" group.

In September, Thompson said he would return to practicing law on October 1st, as he was never disbarred due to technicalities. The Facebook case was filed September 30th. While the U.S. Communications Decency Act clearly states no website can be held accountable for content its users post, Thompson claims it does not apply, as he made the site aware of the comments and Facebook did not remove them.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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