Monday, June 23, 2014

Maryland mother sues convicted consumers of child pornography


ABC affiliate WJLA reports that a mother somewhere in Maryland is suing up to 100 “John Doe” defendants convicted of viewing pornographic images of her two young children being abused by their father.  The defendants were in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, story here.   On January 23, this column reported that the Supreme Court had taken up the issue as to whether “consumers” could be held liable for inducing demand for a product that victimizes children.  But only those convicted are defendants.  

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

"CreepyPasta Slenderman" character seems to inspire a copycat crime by two minor girls in Wisconsin; any legal questions?


There has occurred a troubling case in Wisconsin of minors emulating behavior that they found portrayed in the Internet. 
   
The website involved is “Creepypasta” (link http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Creepypasta_Wiki ) which facilitates users posting shocking “horror” stories on the Web.  The links on the site give some rather strict rules about quality (proofreading), avoiding unfinished work, and spam, so it seems pretty legitimate, at least to a first-time visitor like me.
    
But Jason Hanna and Dana Ford of CNN report a case where two twelve year old girls who planned an attack on a fellow student in Waukesha, WI, and stabbed her nineteen times after luring her in a hide-seek game that seemed to be inspired by one of the stories on the site.  They seemed to be trying to please a fictional Internet character on the site named “SlenderMan”. 
  
   
The link for the story on CNN is here.
  
There would seem to be at least the possibility that websites that seem to “inspire” copycat crimes could come under criticism.  It’s not clear that there could be any downstream liability, but that should be looked into.
   
The girls have been charged as adults for attempted murder.