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Legal/Litigation Reference

UGC (User Generated Content) websites such as iHub (Google, Yahoo!, etc.) frequently receive communications from individuals and companies claiming that false, inaccurate, libelous and/or defamatory information has been posted about them on the website's message boards. Often there is an accompanying threat to sue the website unless objectionable content is removed and/or the website agrees to willingly turn over the private user account information of the poster(s). If you have or are contemplating sending iHub such a notice, demand or threat, please continue reading as this page will provide you with information that may help you understand iHub’s policies, your rights and the rights of posters. It is important to understand from the outset that threats against iHub or its staff will not be tolerated and will not result in the removal of content or disclosure of user account information.

Our policy regarding user content

iHub's message boards provide for the open exchange of both shared and opposing views between interested participants. Posters are able to refute posts with which they disagree by submitting their own posts. Rebuttal and exchange allows readers to evaluate opposing views and weigh their relevance.

It is iHub's policy that each reader has the privilege and duty to determine for themselves the truthfulness and credibility of posts and posters. iHub users submit over a million new posts each month. We do not have the personnel or resources to investigate user posts or to make value judgments as to their accuracy or completeness. If iHub were to remove content on the basis of its truthfulness it could be inferred that, by not removing content, iHub is taking the position that the content is true. We do not tread upon that slippery slope and defer to each reader to make their own assessments.

In short, iHub is not an arbiter of truth and we do not remove or leave posts on the basis of their alleged truthfulness or accuracy.

The Law

Before making threats of litigation against iHub it is important for one to understand that it is the author of objectionable content that is potentially liable for such content, not iHub. iHub is domiciled in the USA and the following are the prevailing laws governing such matters:

The Communications Decency Act ("CDA") codified at 47 U.S.C § 230 states, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." This federal law broadly immunizes interactive computer services such as iHub from liability and lawsuit arising from content posted by third-party users. Courts have consistently held that the immunity extends to decisions and actions taken to publish, delete or withdraw third-party content from publication and encompasses claims for declaratory and injunctive relief. No state law supersedes the federal immunity provided by the CDA. Every federal circuit and state appellate court that has considered Section 230 has adopted this construction of the statute. In short, the CDA ensures that operators of interactive websites are immune from lawsuit and liability arising from third party content.1

The Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act or SPEECH Act, codified at 28 U.S.C. §§ 4101-4105 bars all United States courts from enforcing foreign defamation judgments that do not 1) provide as much protection for freedom of speech as the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; 2) comport with the due process requirements that are imposed on domestic courts by the United States Constitution; or 3) afford the protections provided by The Communications Decency Act. This federal law was unanimously enacted by Congress in 2010 to address libel tourism which is the practice of foreign plaintiffs bringing defamation lawsuits against U.S. entities in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. The statute also provides for the U.S. courts to grant declaratory relief to the party bringing the action, as well as legal costs incurred in doing so. In short, foreign defamation judgments and foreign judgments that do not conform with the CDA are barred from enforcement in the USA.2

Available Recourse

If you believe there is an actionable legal claim against one or more posters then it is incumbent upon a party with standing to seek remedy from the poster(s) in a court of competent jurisdiction. The following links contain important information in that regard:

InvestorsHub does not screen user posted content, nor do we determine the veracity of such content for the very simple reason that we are not in a position to do so. Assertions that certain posts are libelous, defamatory or fraudulent are matters of opinion. In order to consider posts for removal on the basis of allegedly libelous or defamatory content we require an enforceable order to that effect from a court of competent jurisdiction.

Should you choose to seek injunctive or other relief please be reminded that any such action should be brought against the author(s) of the offending content. Pursuant to the provisions of the Communications Decency Act, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 230, no cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed on message board operators for third party content. Please be advised that should any such action be brought against InvestorsHub.com, Inc., we can and will file a motion for reimbursement of resulting legal expenses and such additional sanctions as the court may allow.

Takedown requests in the USA: As mentioned above, Section 230 protects iHub from being compelled to remove third-party content from its website. However, we will take under advisement orders for declaratory relief (e.g., injunctions) resulting from adversarial judicial proceedings issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. Any such order and the underlying claim can be emailed to legal@investorshub.com. Removal of third-party content, if any, will be at iHub's sole discretion.

Takedown requests in non-USA jurisdictions: InvestorsHub recognizes that defamation law varies in jurisdictions outside of the United States. If a party outside of the USA believes specific posts to be in violation of the law in their jurisdiction they can contact us with a request for takedown at legal@investorshub.com. The request should provide 1) the sender's standing to make a claim (only the allegedly defamed party has standing); 2) the URL to each and every objectionable post; 3) the legal reason for the takedown request; and 4) the country in which the post is alleged to be in violation of law. iHub will review such requests for possible takedown from publication in the specified (non-USA) jurisdiction.

Information regarding threats of litigation against iHub

iHub welcomes and encourages constructive input from our user community, however; we do not welcome disruptive or non-constructive communications, or attacks on iHub itself or our staff. Members who find themselves unable to refrain from attacking iHub and/or its staff, including but not limited to 1) threats of reporting us to [insert list of the usual "name dropped" agencies here], 2) threats of litigation, 3) predictions of our sudden demise, 4) accusations of criminality, conspiracy, or any other alleged violation of law, or 5) vulgar or abusive communications, should avail themselves of their prerogative to cease using the site immediately as we have no interest in hearing it. Those unwilling or unable to respect these guidelines will be asked to refrain from such conduct and, failing that, will be shown to the exit.

Disclaimer

Nothing contained or omitted herein shall constitute or is intended to or shall operate as an admission or as an election, waiver or relinquishment of or limitation on any right, remedy or defense, at law or in equity, all of which are reserved.

For the Record - Past Litigation Involving Investors Hub

iHub has never lost a lawsuit in a court having personal jurisdiction over iHub2, and has a long and successful history of defending actions improperly brought against it, including where applicable, seeking recovery of its legal fees. The following links provide summaries of litigation matters to which iHub has been a party:

Resources

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation is a leading donor funded civil liberties group defending the public's rights in the digital world.
  • Public Citizen has developed a program of litigation and other forms of advocacy which protects the rights of these ordinary citizens against those powerful entities who would seek to curtail or suppress the exchange of ideas and criticism that is enabled by this new technology.
  • Lumen, formerly known as Chilling Effects Clearinghouse collects and analyzes legal complaints about online activity, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. Lumen welcomes submission of letters from individuals and from Internet service providers and hosts. These submissions enable them to study the prevalence of legal threats and allow Internet users to see the source of content removals.
  • Public Participation Project is working to pass federal anti-SLAPP legislation in Congress. PPP also assists individuals and organizations working to pass anti-SLAPP legislation in the states, and their work includes educating the public regarding SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) and the consequences of these types of destructive lawsuits.

1. iHub is a provider of an interactive computer service and therefore is covered by the CDA. See Medytox Solutions, Inc. v. Investorshub.com, Inc., 152 So. 3d 727 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014, Fla. Supreme Court Rev. Denied, U.S. Supreme Court Rev. Denied) holding that iHub is protected from liability by the CDA.

2. A Canadian court entered a default judgment against iHub in 2010; iHub did not defend the lawsuit as the Canadian court lacked personal jurisdiction over iHub. Subsequently, iHub sought and was granted a judgment for declaratory relief in the United States Federal Court which did have personal jurisdiction over all parties and which, for the first time, invalidated a foreign defamation judgment and all related orders pursuant to the 2010 SPEECH Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 4101-4105. See Investorshub.com, Inc. et al. vs. Mina Mar Group, Inc., et al. 2011 U.S. N.D. Fla. LEXIS 87566)