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  1. #1
    mlx93 is offline Junior Member
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    Can I sue urbandictionary.com?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Minnesota.

    Let me say I am a little confused as to what section I should post this thread in. I'm not actually sure what type of court I would take this issue to, I obviously don't know much about law. I don't think this would be a small claims lawsuit, rather it would be against a large commercial website. Basically I'm not sure what section to put this thread in, because it's an issue about invasion of privacy online.

    Before I begin let me tell you I HAVE tried contacting urbandictionary.com through their various email addresses. I've sent multiple emails over a week and have got no response. There is no phone number to call, but they do have a address I can send a letter to, but I'm not sure if thats a good idea since I don't know exactly what I should tell them.

    Whats the problem? There is a definition that includes my personal information, my first and last name, and the location of where I live. On their website, they state they will remove any definition that contains personal information. They even have a page that will allow you to remove/report a definition, and they say one of the reasons a definition can be removed specifically, is if personal information is in a definition!

    On this page [url=http://www.urbandictionary.com/editor/remove.php]Urban Dictionary: Remove a definition[/url], it says:

    Use this form to remove...

    Definitions with someone's full name
    Lame inside jokes
    Here is their privacy policy: [url=http://www.urbandictionary.com/privacy.php]Urban Dictionary: Privacy Policy[/url]

    Here is their TOS: [url=http://www.urbandictionary.com/tos.php]Urban Dictionary: Terms of Service[/url]

    So I tried to remove the definition, but the page told me "sorry, this definition is too popular." Despite the fact that my full name and location is in the definition, I have no way to get it removed. I've tried contacting them at least four or five times now, and have got no response.

    Is there anyway for me to sue them for allowing my personal information on the site? They say they will remove definitions with personal info, yet I'm unable to contact them or remove the definition myself. They have not emailed me back, so I want to take this a step further. Can I file a lawsuit against them for releasing my personal information and not removing it?

    They allow people to remove definitions, yet I am not able to do it myself, they have not responded to me, so therefore they are breaking their own policy. Would someone mind looking through their policy and try to help me out with what it says about personal information being posted? Would I be able to file a lawsuit against them for allowing my personal info posted for everyone to see? Thanks.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    How has this damaged you, in purely financial terms? How much money,how many clients, etc have you actually lost and canprove you lost solely due to thos Web page?
  3. #3
    mlx93 is offline Junior Member
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    That's not what it's about though. They are allowing my personal information on the site to the public, when they supposedly don't allow full names to be shown in a definition. It's about me wanting my privacy.

    They have a page that allows people to remove definitions, one of the two reasons a definition can be removed is if it has a full name. With this reasoning, its safe to assume they don't want personal information shared, yet they won't follow through when I try to contact them about it. My first and last name, as well as where I live are posted in a definition online. They say on the page a definition can be removed if it has a full name, yet for years my name as well as my location have been posted in a definition, and they won't remove it. I don't want my personal info shared with the world, I want my privacy. That isn't right for them to allow that to be posted.

    How would any of you feel if someone was going around posting your full first and last name online, as well as where you live, and the website that it was published to wasn't doing a thing about it? How would you feel if thousands were able to see that information publicly?

    They haven't caused me to lose any money, but they have caused me to lose my privacy when someone sees the definition. I don't like that. The point is that they supposedly don't want personal info shared, yet they're allowing my personal info to be shared, and they aren't following through with their policy by removing it. They are being hypocrites, and I'm only trying to sue them because they won't give me my privacy back.

    I need legal help because if somewhere in the privacy policy or TOS it states personal information isn't allowed, then they are breaking their own terms by allowing my personal information shared. Can I sue them if they're breaking their own policy and sharing my information publicly, when they say they don't allow personal info to be published?
  4. #4
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlx93 View Post
    That's not what it's about though. They are allowing my personal information on the site to the public, when they supposedly don't allow full names to be shown in a definition. It's about me wanting my privacy.

    For the most part, this IS about monetary damages.


    They have a page that allows people to remove definitions, one of the two reasons a definition can be removed is if it has a full name. With this reasoning, its safe to assume they don't want personal information shared, yet they won't follow through when I try to contact them about it. My first and last name, as well as where I live are posted in a definition online. They say on the page a definition can be removed if it has a full name, yet for years my name as well as my location have been posted in a definition, and they won't remove it. I don't want my personal info shared with the world, I want my privacy. That isn't right for them to allow that to be posted.

    How would any of you feel if someone was going around posting your full first and last name online, as well as where you live, and the website that it was published to wasn't doing a thing about it? How would you feel if thousands were able to see that information publicly?

    They haven't caused me to lose any money, but they have caused me to lose my privacy when someone sees the definition. I don't like that. The point is that they supposedly don't want personal info shared, yet they're allowing my personal info to be shared, and they aren't following through with their policy by removing it. They are being hypocrites, and I'm only trying to sue them because they won't give me my privacy back.

    I need legal help because if somewhere in the privacy policy or TOS it states personal information isn't allowed, then they are breaking their own terms by allowing my personal information shared. Can I sue them if they're breaking their own policy and sharing my information publicly, when they say they don't allow personal info to be published?


    Your name and address are not private information, I'm afraid.
  5. #5
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    mlx93, are you famous or infamous?

    It is possible to publish someone's full name and the place where s/he resides under most circumstances, as this information is considered public information (there are a few exceptions). It would not be considered an invasion of privacy to do so.

    It is also possible to use certain famous or infamous names in ways where using a private person's name in the same way could result in legal action.

    It is also possible to use certain common names in a way that may give rise to legal action had the name not been a common one (although providing a specific address would identify the person sufficiently for a suit to be possible).

    Connecting your name and address to an Urban Dictionary definition could potentially give rise to a suit if the definition is one that states or implies something false and reputationally injurious about you, for example falsely stating that you committed a crime of some sort. If your name is Mark David Chapman and your residence is given as Attica and the definition includes reference to you as a creepy killer, however, that would be legal.

    So, whether or not your being identified by name and address in an Urban Dictionary definition could lead to any legal action at all would depend on a lot of factors, including what your name is, what your address is, who exactly you are (a private person, a movie star, a politician, a convicted felon, some or all of the above ), and the type of definition to which you are connected.

    But, again, the publication of your name and address alone would not be enough to support an invasion of privacy action (under most circumstances).

    And, any legal action would NOT be against Urban Dictionary, but against the person who posted the definition that includes your name and address. Urban Dictionary does not have to remove any content without a court order to do so, regardless of their terms of service and regardless of the content published. It is the content-creator and not Urban Dictionary who would be held legally liable for the content they created. That is the person you would sue.
    Last edited by quincy; 02-05-2012 at 08:31 AM.
  6. #6
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Just to sum up what quincy so eloquently stated, you cannot successfully sue a company for not following their own internal policies, (unless those policies are the same as a law).

    The real question is what was the definition where your name appears? If it's something like "this guy is a spaz", no dice. But if it's under "rapist and known carrier of Herpes", that's potentially actionable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.

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