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Court Rejects Mans Suit Against Yahoo

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A man who wanted to run for Governor of New York but did not receive enough signatures to be placed on the ballot has lost his attempt to sue Yahoo and Ask.com for undermining his "master election plan."


 Court Rejects Mans Suit Against Yahoo
Court Rejects Mans Suit Against Yahoo

William Murawski who refers to himself as a "frequent political candidate" wanted to run in the 2006 election to be governor of New York. He filed a petition to collect the required 15,000 signatures.

Then he sued Yahoo, Ask.com and the operator of a political site for not listing him on the political site and for a search engine listing he said identified him as a communist. He sued Yahoo because he said he was not allowed to post messages to email groups of which he was a member at crucial times in the campaign. He said that was a violation of his right to free speech that is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Murawski alleged that Yahoo was a "state actor" and had a constitutional obligation because it had received public funding. "The Court rejects plaintiff’s contention in his opposition that Yahoo! Inc. is transformed into a state actor because it benefited from early public funding of the development of the Internet," said US District Judge Richard Holwell.

Murawski sued Ronald Gunzburger, who runs the political Web site Poltics1.com for not listing him on the site and violating his right to free speech. When Gunzburger did list Murawski along with other candidates he then sued because he was listed next to a communist.

Murawski said that when search engines found the list the listing made him look like he was a communist. According to The Register the list read: Maura DeLuca (SWP) – Garment Worker & Communist Political Organizer & Ben O’Shaughnessy (SWP) – College Student & Communist Political Organizer Bill Murawski (Write-In) – Journalist, Public Access TV Show Producer & Frequent Candidate & Donald Winkfield (Write-In) – Journalist".

The court threw the suit out saying, "It is thus apparent that Gunzburger did not identify plaintiff as a communist on his website, and thus there is no basis for plaintiff’s claim against Gunzburger," he said. "The fact that various search engines displayed the text from Politics1.com without line breaks is not attributable to Gunzburger."

Murawski sued Ask.com because it reproduced Gunzburger’s list. The court said Ask.com was protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that interactive service providers are protected from prosecution when they publish content of a third party.

 

Court Rejects Mans Suit Against Yahoo
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