The Argentine Supreme Court addressed the liability standard for media outlets that reproduce third-party-generated content.

In re Roviralta, Huberto v. Prima Red Interactiva de Servicios et. al., the Argentine Supreme Court addressed the liability standard for media outlets that reproduce third-party-generated content.

In this case, a local socialite sought compensation for damages against an internet services company, for releasing a commercial ad that depicted him in a derogatory manner. The plaintiff also initiated legal actions against the newspaper that published the advertisement in question.

The court of first instance admitted the complaint, holding both the advertising internet company and the newspaper liable for libel and fixed damages in the amount of AR$ 40,000 plus interest and legal fees.

Both defendants challenged the decision and the case was reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling on the grounds that the newspaper was negligent in publishing an ad that depicted the complainant in an offensive manner. In addition, the Court of Appeals highlighted that commercial publications are afforded only a secondary constitutional protection, which entails the obligation to exercise a proactive control over the content of such communications.

Legal counsel for the newspaper sought an extraordinary federal remedy before the Argentine Supreme Court, which admitted the case for review.

The Supreme Court reversed the ruling by the Court of Appeals and released the newspaper from all liability. In so deciding, the Supreme Court held that insofar as the source of the information is clearly and properly identified (as it was in this case), media outlets are not liable for third party generated content, even when it is strictly commercial in nature.

This precedent reinforces the Supreme Court’s recent tendency to release intermediaries from liability for third-party-generated content.