Judges Quickly Tossing Out Bogus Internet Liability Cases

from the good-news dept

In the past, we've covered why section 230 of the Communications Decency Act makes a lot of sense (despite plenty of other flaws in that law). What it says is that a service provider isn't liable for the actions its users take within the service. This makes fundamental sense (it's almost too bad there even needs to be a law pointing it out), because what it's saying is that you don't blame whoever made the tool, you blame whoever used it. You don't blame the telephone company if someone uses the telephone to commit a crime, and therefore you don't blame the ISP or website when a user does something illegal as well. Over the years, the courts have had various decisions (some good, some bad) concerning section 230, but it's beginning to get to the point where judges seem comfortable quickly dismissing bogus claims against service providers. Eric Goldman points to a recent case where a user of MSN's forums got upset about some messages on the forums and rather than going after those who made the statements, sued Microsoft. Microsoft filed a motion to dismiss per section 230 and, voila, case dismissed. Hopefully, this will start to become common practice so that the courts aren't littered with these types of bogus cases much longer.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 6:24pm

    What works for Microsoft doesn't necessarily work for everyone else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Bumbling old fool, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 7:52pm

    Re:

    What works for Microsoft doesn't necessarily work for everyone else.

    Are you sure about that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 8:19pm

    One problem is that ISPs and web site hosts are not required to divulge the identity of those making slanderous statements about a person and often won't without a court order.

    To get this information it is necessary to sue the provider rather than the law breaker.

    I don't have a good solution, but as long as people hide behind providers to remain anonymous it will remain necessary to sue providers when one wishes to file a civil suit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Kentucky Fats, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 8:55pm

    et tu brute

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Monarch, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 9:03pm

    Re: #3 AC

    It's easy to get a subpeona, just by filing the forms in small claims court, for the ISP to release the information on the user. ISP's willing give up information quickly, once a court ordered subpeona is issued.
    However, to give that info out without it, could get the ISP sued over privacy issues. There is a reason they don't give it out freely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    erv, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 9:12pm

    freedom of speech buddy...if I can you suk in the public square I should be able to say it online. Bravo to the courts...bravo

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    vapiddreamer, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 10:14pm

    not hiding behind the ISP

    I'm hiding behind peergaurdian =p
    cause, in fact, #5 is right on-- why would I expect the ISP to put their neck out for me?? Protect ya neck kid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Wizard Prang, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 6:39am

    I am not a lawyer but...

    To get this information it is necessary to sue the provider rather than the law breaker.

    Nope. To get this information they need something called a warrant.

    Alternatively something called a Court Order might do it.

    No lawsuit required.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Wizard Prang, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 6:40am

    On the other hand...

    ...you had better back it up with some facts, or you could be committing slander/libel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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