Here are a few loss scenarios arising from recent events. Topics include Denial of Service/ECommerce, Defamation and Website Accessibility.
Denial of Service - ECommerce
The Colorado Rockies decided to sell all tickets to its World Series game against the Boston Red Sox via its website. Demand for tickets was high and the Rockies’ computer system actually crashed as users attempted to trick the ordering system into allowing them to hoard tickets. There’s some debate regarding whether users’ efforts to trick the ordering system so they could buy more tickets is actually malicious. After all, the users intent was not too crash the site, but instead allow the opportunity to buy more tickets. Regardless, the crash and resulting inability to purchase tickets upset many fans. Fortunately for the Rockies, the crash does not appear to have resulted in any great financial loss as all three of the World Series games at Coors Field sold out.
Defamation - Publisher
A suburban Chicago newspaper and its former columnist have settled a libel lawsuit brought by Chief Justice Robert Thomas to the tune of $3 Million. The newspaper was accused of defaming Thomas when it published statements claiming Thomas allowed politics to affect his position in a disciplinary hearing for a prosecutor. Specifically, the columnist alleged that Thomas softened his position after the prosecutor’s supporters backed a judicial candidate that Thomas preferred. The original jury award was for $7 million but the newspaper and columnist appealed. The columnist continues to maintain that his story is accurate.
Internet Liability – Ecommerce
In response to a lawsuit filed against Target.com, a federal court recently ruled that Target’s website must be accessible to the blind. Target had maintained that no law could obligate it to make its website accessible to the blind but this recent decision denies this claim. Not only has the federal court refused to dismiss the lawsuit against Target, it has certified it as a class action. While companies should already be accustomed to complying with the American Disabilities Act in terms of access to physical locations, this new ruling could bring the accessibility laws to the Internet. For ideas on how to make a website accessible, visit www.webaim.org.