DoubleVerify sends ratings of websites to its subscribers. DoubleVerify’s confidential reports tagged Filmon’s website as one carrying adult content and materials that infringed others’ copyrighted materials. Filmon sued for slander and other torts, claiming the derogatory tags were false and led advertisers to shun Filmon’s site. Held, the trial court correctly found that DoubleVerify’s ratings were protected speech under CCP 425.16(e)(4) as addressing matters of public interest. The very fact that advertisers might choose not to patronize a site that showed adult content or infringed copyrights showed that that subject was one of public interest. Also, the fact that DoubleVerify did not broadly disseminate its findings or add to any public debate did not exclude its reports from section 425.16’s protection.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3 (Johnson, M., J., sitting by assignment); June 29, 2017; 2017 WL 3172753