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Assistant Principal Loses Lawsuit Against Students Who Teased Him On Facebook

Monday, September 30, 2013

Adam Matot is an Assistant Principal in Oregon. Last summer, he was arrested for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident while driving under the influence. Some of his students created a parody Facebook account mocking him, and he filed a lawsuit against them under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, arguing that they'd damaged his reputation by impersonating him online. 

This week, the case was dismissed. The judge ruled that parody Facebook accounts aren't illegal. Or at least this one isn't. Here's Venkat Balasubramani, from the Technology & Marketing Law Blog:

Reviewing the CFAA case law, the court says that plaintiff’s cause of action is premised on defendants’ use of protected computers beyond the scope of authorization (i.e., use in a way that “exceeded authorized access”). Finding that Nosal, Brekka, and US v. Drew all frowned upon this as a legal theory (particularly when restrictions are contained in terms of use agreements), the court rejects the claim. 

Middle schoolers of the world, please continue to tease your administrators online. 

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