Assignment #3 -- Form of Response


Ms. Laura Lawyer, Esq.

Bignet, Inc.

Dear Ms. Lawyer:

I have been retained as counsel by Clint Billton, the Chairman of the Philadelphia City Council, regarding a matter in which your company is directly involved.

It appears that one of your subscribers -- identified by the online name "Monster" -- has been utilizing your service to publish false and defamatory comments about Mr. Billton over the Internet. [More detail here -- describe Usenet and Web postings -- attach copies of Monster's postings?]

These comments constitute defamation of the most scurrilous variety, and Mr. Billton has retained me to investigate the possibility of legal action. While we have not determined our ultimate course of action, we do request, by this letter, that Bignet immediately take the following steps: (1) terminate the account of "Monster"; (2) delete all of "Monster's" web pages hosted on the Bignet system that contain any references to Mr. Billton; and (3) provide us with "Monster's" name and address in order that we may proceed to contact him/her.

In our opinion, these steps are the least one would expect of a responsible Internet Service Provider, and all are, we believe, well within your rights. [Something on contractual obligations of Bignet to Monster? ECPA and the obligation to maintain some records in confidence?]

Indeed, we believe that you may be legally obligated to take these steps. [How far can we push this argument? Whether or not you were aware of any of "Monster's" activity prior to receipt of this letter, having notice of these unlawful acts requires you to act promptly and expeditiously to purge your system of these postings. [Does defamation law require them to do this? Any way to get around Zeran? Can we argue that their liability will be reduced, at least, if they do what we ask them to do?]

As you can certainly understand, time is of the essence. Please call me as soon as possible so that we may discuss this matter.