Cubby v. Compurserve
Date: October 29, 1991
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Case #: 90 Civ. 6571 (PKL)
Issues: Defamation, trade libel, unfair competition
Don Fitzpatrick published a daily newsletter to users of Compuserve’s Journalism Forum. Robert Blanchard of Cubby, Inc, created a competing forum called Skuttlebut. Skuttlebut but claimed that defaming comments were made about their company on Rumorville. Skuttlebut not only brought action against Fitzpatrick but also to Compuserve claiming that they acted as a publisher and therefore was responsible for what was posted on their forum.
It was decided by the Southern District Court of New York that Compuserve was a not a publisher and instead only distributer because of their lack of editorial control or first-hand knowledge of content posted on the forum. The Internet service provider is compared to a newsstand or public library in that they cannot examine the content of all their publications