If you've given professional-networking site LinkedIn access to your email account, you may be aware that the site uses your contact list to recruit new members. What you probably weren't aware of, though, is that LinkedIn can send your contacts invitation emails followed by reminder emails -- at the risk of making you look like a needy user who can't take a hint. This practice is at the crux of an upcoming lawsuit against the company, with a District Judge in San Jose, California ruling that the repeat emails could injure users' reputations.
US District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose ruled that members who sued can continue to pursue damages for the revenue LinkedIn made using their email address contacts. The site apparently doesn't include any disclosures about sending multiple invitations to contacts. Judge Koh also explained that the networking site may have violated California's right of publicity, which protects against the use of someone's name for commercial purposes without consent. Members of the class-action lawsuit are currently looking to expand the case to include more members.
For LinkedIn's part, spokeswoman Crystal Braswell said: "We are pleased that the Court rejected plaintiffs' unfounded "hacking" claims and found that LinkedIn members consented to sharing their email contacts with LinkedIn. We will continue to contest the remaining claims, as we believe they have no merit."