Ed Magedson, CEO of Rip-off Report, seems to walk away unscathed every time despite a number of lawsuits and criminal charges that have been filed against him. How is this possible asking one of their Victims Web Wise Media? Reading his website it is clear even without looking at the history that this is a slander site. How can they get away with it and why aren’t more people suing to take them down?
The answer is simple. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) states that, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In other words, Magedson is not responsible for anything that the users of his site post on his site. Therefore, he cannot be sued for liable. Unless …
There have been a number of complaints that Ed Magedson is initiating the content that is being published at Rip-off Report. The following two cases are still pending against Mr. Magedson and each of them alleges that he created the content on his site about the plaintiffs or somehow coerced or bribed others into doing it.
• Children of America v. Magedson—Filed February 2007 in Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona under case number CV 2007-003720. The Court ruled that Children of America might have a claim against Rip-off Report because Ed Magdeson created complaints and titles to complaints.
• Whitney Information Network v. Xcentric—Filed January 27, 2004 in Florida’s Middle District Court under case number 2:2004cv00047. This case states that Magedson solicited reports designed to harass businesses.
These are only two of the dozens of cases that have been filed against Rip-off Report, described by many as the “National Enquirer” of the Internet. What set these two cases apart from the others are the strength of the evidence and the inability of the defendants using CDA Section 230 in their defense. If the court rules that Mr. Magedson is responsible for the content he will be liable for slander and have to pay damages determined by the court.
There have been other cases where Mr. Magedson has reached this point and settled the case with the plaintiff. Unfortunately in a settlement the amounts or terms are not disclosed and liability is never officially determined. A good example of this would be:
• Hy Cite v. Badbusinessbureau.com—Filed December 11, 2004 in Arizona District Court under case number 2:2004cv02856. The plaintiff amended their complaint to include defamation, RICO Act claims, and trademark infringement. The trademark claims were dismissed, but the Court determined that the RICO Act claims and the claims that Magedson authored defamatory statements went forward. The case was settled in May of 2007.
So far, the High Cite case is the closest that Ed Magdeson has come to facing justice for what is clearly immoral, unethical, and illegal acts of slander and liable that he commits against legitimate businesses whose only fault is making money that he can extort from them. The RICO statutes that are being seen in cases against Magdeson bring a whole different dimension to the penalty phase of the decisions. RICO allows plaintiffs to sue for three times what their actual damages were and could open the door for criminal charges against Magdeson and Rip-off Report.