Mark S. Sidoti, Philip J. Duffy and Paul E. Asfendis consider how the Stored Communications Act, enacted in 1986 as part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is interpreted decades later and incredible technological advances later.
Recently, in Crispin v. Christian Audigier Inc., et al.,[FOOTNOTE 1] the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California was tasked with application of the SCA in the context of social networking and webmail services. Crispin involved subpoenas issued by defendants in a copyright infringement and breach of contract action to two non-party social networking service providers, Facebook and MySpace, and Media Temple, a non-party web hosting company that provides webmail services.
The subpoenas sought disclosure of plaintiff’s private e-mail and social networking messages, as well as plaintiff’s MySpace comments and Facebook wall postings. Plaintiff moved to quash the subpoenas, arguing that the communications were protected under the SCA.
In the resulting decision, District Court Judge Margaret M. Morrow thoroughly analyzed several important and timely issues, including whether a litigant has standing to move to quash subpoenas served on non-party web hosting and social networking companies to which the litigant subscribes, whether the SCA applies to these types of providers, whether the SCA provides immunity for disclosure of private information when compelled by subpoena, and the extent to which private electronic communications and data in the custody of social networking and webmail providers are protected.
Read their full article on Law.com.