The culture of the Internet is not one of respect or concern for outcome, only for statistics. Because of that, publications like the National Enquirer have been usurped by websites like Gawker. The belief is that you can say or do anything on the web without any repercussions.
Recently, Gawker found out that is not the case. After publishing part of a Hulk Hogan sex tape online, the wrestler sued. After a contentious legal battle, the verdict was in Hogan's favor, with damages of $140 million against Gawker Media.
The company itself is not worth that much and therefore has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company asked for a stay on paying the penalty in hopes of being able to continue to operate. This week the judge declined their request. As a result the company has put themselves on the auction block.
Almost immediately, publisher Ziff Davis swept in and made an offer which the company has tentatively accepted. Under the agreement, Gawker Media will continue to operate independently while they appeal the court decision. Ziff Davis will pay court fees, which Gawker was no longer capable of paying.
The purchase is not finalized, however. As the company is in bankruptcy, the sale must go through an auction process. Purchasing a company with a major legal loss over their heads is not something that most other companies will consider, so it is likely that this will be the final outcome. If the purchase is finalized, Ziff Davis will add several high profile publications to their already large collection.
The important thing here is that through this case the Internet is beginning to learn a lesson. You can't say or do anything you want and expect no repercussions just because you're online. The legal system is aware of the Internet and will punish companies and individuals who break the law.
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