Biomatrix Profile: Biomatrix is a medical company. Its primary business is to develop, manufacture, and globally market medical products
Synvisc, developed in the late 1990’s, was designed to help patients who suffer from osteoarthritis, a condition that produces pain and immobility in the knee
From April 1999 to August 2000, three individuals who called themselves as BMX Police posted over 16,000 messages critical of Biomatrix in a finance discussion forum provided by Internet Service Provider, Yahoo ! Inc .
Using 23 pseudonyms, they made four, unsubstantiated, critical claims:
1. that Synvisc produces serious side effects,
2. that competitors offered better products,
3. that Biomatrix had covered up negative financial and product information,
4. that sexual improprieties and barbarous cruelties had been committed by top level Biomatrix employees.
“ I am a former Biomatrix employee. I was employed there for over 6 years and reported DIRECTLY to the CEO, Dr. Balazs. While employed, I ran the AC Chemistry Lab which tested production batches of every product manufactured for a variety of CHEMICAL IMPURITITES and general conformance to established specifications. I had many other responsibilities as well…. When it comes to CREDIBILITY, consider the source.”
2. Unscrupulous Corporate Intentions:
“ The BMX Police are here to warn investors that corrupt financial institutions, along with the CRIMINAL Biomatrix and Genzyme management, are trying to STEAL YOUR MONEY by misleading investors with FALSE PROMISES of a ‘merger’ that is not even scheduled to happen.”
“ Most of you that work there I’m sure already know how much [X] LOVES her women. Just don’t reject her offers or you’re out the door.”
[Y] “is rumored to have been a NAZI SS doctor during World War II…torturing people and experimenting on them like animals.”
4. BMX Police as Whistle-Blowers:
It all depends which side of the fence you’re on. The “pusher” sees the negative information, factual as it may be, as “slander” because they feel that anything that might make stock go down is inherently wrong. Thus, they call it ”slander”.
The BMX Police know that the TRUTH, as unpleasant as it may be, is NEVER wrong. Indeed, it is our CIVIC DUTY to expose the TRUTH about Biomatrix, its products, and its stock. Thus, we call it “whistle blowing.” The readers of this board are free to evaluate both sides, and their motives for posting, and decide what they wish to do. Some will learn that this is a SCAM company peddling a SCAM product and run for the door. Others may not mind that it’s a SCAM company peddling a SCAM product as long as the stock price goes up. Certainly, there are enough unethical people out there that won’t mind investing in a SCAM that hurts people as long as they profit from it.
The Supreme Court ( No. BER-L-670-00 , NJ. ) found the three guilty in terms of :
1. Content: The messages contained accusations that were "extremely offensive and malicious.“
2. Verifiability. Under New Jersey law, the higher the "fact content" of a statement, the more likely that the statement will be actionable as libel. In this case, some of the messages contained statements that the postings were "100% accurate" and that the information came from "inside sources" - indicating that the posters meant to be taken seriously.
3. Context. The statements were posted on a chat room in the business section of the Yahoo! web site. Their web site preference to post messages shows their malicious intent.
Court; ordered them to stop posting messages.
Biomatrix v. Costanza cont’d…
Laws and Legal Regulations in U.S related to Cybersmear Cases
Defamation: the legal doctrine that allows a person to sue in court and recover damages from someone making false statements that harm the plaintiff's reputation.
libelous statements made online are usually evaluated by the same standards as statements made offline
The plaintiff can initiate a John Doe law suit to the owner(s) of the defamatory speech or messages on the WWW.
John Doe law suits are applied when the real identities of the defendant parties are not known.
The plaintiff can demand from the ISP to reveal the identities of defendant(s). However, normally
Full First Amendment protection applies to communications on the Internet
Speakers have a First Amendment right to communicate anonymously
The plaintiff have to prove that s/he is seriously effected from libelious messages.
If court is convinced that the content of the messages had effected the plaintiff and malicious, then the judge give order to the related ISP to give identities.
Normally, ISPs do not have the right to reveal the identities of posters. To protect anonymity and to use the free speech right is one of the basic human rights in U.S constitution. But, in case of court order; the ISP has to define the real identities of message posters.
To learn the identities of owners of defamatory speech….
Distributor: not subject to liability unless they have specific knowledge that they are transmitting defamatory material.
Legislation in U.S
In 1996, the US Congress adopted a rule virtually foreclosing the possibility of cyberlibel suits against ISPs. Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Act offers broad immunity to ISPs, providing: 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.
There is uniform agreement that the author of a statement is responsible for it.
Biomatrix Case: Yahoo is distributor: only ordered to give identities of posters
Public Citizen is a public interest organization based in Washington, D.C., which has approximately 100,000 members, nearly 2000 of them in Arizona.
Public Citizen has urged citizens to speak out against abuses by a variety of large institutions, including corporations, government agencies, and unions, and it has advocated a variety of protections for the rights of consumers, citizens and employees to encourage them to do so
Public Citizen has represented Doe defendants or appeared as amicus curiae in several cases in which subpoenas have sought to identify anonymous posters on Internet bulletin boards or web sites
EFF (Ecomomic Frontier Foundation) and ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is particularly concerned with protecting the rights of individuals to speak anonymously, on the Internet or otherwise, and regularly advises and defends individuals around the country whose free speech rights are threatened
ACLU roled as Amici Curiae in Biomatrix v. Costanza Case in order to balance the harm of Biomatirx and anonymity of BMX Police……..
(1) provide notice to the potential defendant and an opportunity to defend his anonymity;
(2) require the plaintiff to specify the statements that allegedly violate its rights;
(3) review the complaint to ensure that it states a cause of action based on each statement and against each defendant;
(4) require the plaintiff to produce evidence supporting each element of its claims,
(5) balance the equities, weighing the potential harm to the plaintiff from being unable to proceed against the harm to the defendant from losing his right to remain anonymous, in light of the strength of the plaintiff’s evidence of wrongdoing.
Regulates the activities of e-businesses in terms of international rules and laws especially the considering “Internet Restricting Countries”
The Online Freedom of Speech Act (2005)
The Online Freedom of Speech Act is offered to amend federal election law to specifically exclude communications over the Internet from the definition of "public communication" for purposes of regulation in order to allow the growth and expansion of new voices in political process without interference.
Stored Communication Act
Title II of The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986
communication held in electronic storage, most notably messages stored on computers
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (1984)
intended to reduce "hacking" of computer systems
amended in 1994, 1996 and in 2001 by the USA PATRIOT Act
Compulsory for all commercial ISPs to take measures to prevent access to “illegal content”
Use government-approved filters to block users from visiting undesirable websites.
All commercial ISPs are now obliged to record details of all the websites visited by their subscribers and store the data for a period of at least one year.
Under the new ISP regulations, all subscribers to Internet services in Turkey
will have their Internet traffic monitored and recorded
Freedom of Speech Privacy LAW (25) everyone is free in their thoughts in terms of freedom of speech . LAW (301) anyone who has a malicious saying about Turkish nationality, republic, Turkish National Assembly (TBMM), military or security is founded guilty and imprisoned between six months and three years. Monitoring Conflict between Madde 301 & Madde 25
Ethical Theories In Society Than Anonymity Supporters Opponents It allows to hide those who have a malicious intend Gives support to freedom of speech Anonymity Free on Cyber Space