No Privacy for E-Mails to Perez Hilton

Or probably to anyone else for that matter.  Here’s an interesting post from Lawyer/Blogger Eric Goldman describing the disappointing arbitration result for a woman named Wargo.  Ms. Wargo sent a really hateful e-mail to a web site called Lavanderia, in response to an item that Perez Hilton posted about Angelina Jolie.  Wargo’s e-mail rant commented on Hilton’s weight and sexual orientation as well as on Ms. Jolie’s appearance and sexual appetite.  I’ve cleaned it up considerably.  Hilton posted the e-mail along with Wargo’s e-mail address.  Turns out, Ms. Wargo sent the e-mail from her job, and when her employer started getting angry e-mails, Ms. Wargo got fired.  Wargo filed suit, arguing that Hilton violated the terms of’s privacy policy.  That policy provides that users who post content grant a broad license to the Web site, permitting it to reproduce and use that content.  The terms also provide, however, that the Web site “respects [the]privacy [of end users] and is committed to protecting it at all times.  The arbitrator who heard the case found that the privacy provision applied to supplying personal information to marketers.  Posting content supplied by a Web site visitor, however, is exactly what the Web site does, and is covered by the license.   I love this line from Eric G.:  “Sigh. When will we learn that unsolicited emails you send people are not subject to some sort of magical audience-blogger privilege that allows the sender to restrict their publication?”  Couldn’t say it better myself.  If you’re going to engage in an online conversation, you are going to engage in the online conversation.  And you really can’t control the string.