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Washington State Stops Trying To Defend Unconstitutional Law Criminalizing Service Providers

from the moving-on dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about a ridiculous state law up in Washington that sought to place liability on service providers for the actions of their users, all in the name of "protecting the children!" The Internet Archive quickly sued to stop the implementation of the law, winning a quick injunction blocking the law from being put into place. The court made it pretty clear that the law appeared to violate Section 230 of the CDA, the federal law that grants service providers clear immunity from certain user actions.

While the case had continued to move forward, Washington has now decided to stop trying to defend the law, effectively letting it die. Of course, you might still wonder why it was passed in the first place, but of course, the answer to that is basic politics. Either way, some states like to fight these kinds of things through multiple levels of appeals, wasting taxpayer money all the way, so it's nice that Washington state seemed to know to stop digging early on in the process.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 8:14pm

    it's nice that Washington state seemed to know to stop digging early on in the process.

    Naw they just got high and forgot.

     

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    justok (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    They just smoked a legally state sanctioned doob and said "Huh?"

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:06pm

    Do they even have that right?

    I do not know enough details to give an opinion on the merits of their decision, but it does make me wonder:

    Does the Executive, (in the person of the state Attorney General), have the right to pick and choose what laws to defend in court and what laws to ignore? Isn't an Attorney General bound by law and/or ethics to his client, (the State), to defend the actions of the Legislature to the fullest or at least a reasonable extent?

    Has case law, Constitutional law, or statute ever defined the limits of that discretion? If the Executive has the authority or discretion to ignore laws it doesn't like, effectively erasing the Legislature's role in making law and the Judiciary's role to interpret law, how can Separation of Powers still be considered in force?

    I don't know the answers, and look forward to being enlightened by this esteemed community.

     

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

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:36pm

    vonage to try and sue 2300 teksavvy users in canada

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r27806773-Blog-Copyright-Infringement-Lawsuit

    the claim is for 10000 each ip address that has as yet been granted to them....the person to each ip address.

    sorry don't know where to share this too.

     

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  5.  
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    Mr. Smarta** (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:45pm

    Uh huh...

    Yep, that's how it starts. The people who wanted this are going to be all up in arms that this didn't pass. You know what we're going to see now? Babies. Billions of babies. All butchered in the streets. We'll see rivers of blood and people shooting baby-skull-seeking bullets into the air. We're going to see roads built from the bones of babies as pavement. We will most assuredly see people hovering overhead in hot air balloons tossing babies out to fall to the surface of the planet. Why??? Because this law was shot down. And those who didn't support the bill? Oh, yeah. They're baby butchers. Those are the people walking around with babies on spikes chanting and cheering and bathing in the blood of babies. They're the ones wearing baby skin clothes and jewelry from babies' eyes. Because those are the types of people that stand in front of bills and laws like this.

    Just like when moms used to tell their sons, "Every time you do the 'dirty little deed', God kills a kitten.". Well, every time someone opposes stuff like this, a baby is launched into outer space on a rocket and sent plummeting into the sun or to the nearest black hole. Remember hearing about all the Aztecs who sacrificed women and babies and ate their flesh? Or tossed babies into volcanoes? It wasn't because of their beliefs. It was because the people didn't pass the laws like these meant to protect children while simultaneously taking away the rights of the people.

    See? This is where it starts...

     

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  6.  
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    GuyFromV, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:04pm

    That's intense.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Do they even have that right?

    In Washington state, the Attorney General is an elected officer, as provided by Article III of the Washington State Constitution.

    Article III, Section 21 states, “The attorney general shall be the legal adviser of the state officers, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law.”

    If the Washington state legislature believes that the Attorney General has committed “malfeasance in office”, then Article V provides an impeachment procedure. Or, if the legal voters of the state believe that the Attorney General has committed malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, then Article I, Section 33 provides for recall.

    Short of impeachment or recall, though, I would say that the primary check upon the Washington State Attorney General's discretion is the provision for regular election to a fixed term by the voters in the state.

     

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

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 2:20am

    'you might still wonder why it was passed in the first place, but of course, the answer to that is basic politics'

    basic bribery, more like! the politicians wouldn't try to do anything like this unless there was financial benefit to them!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    It appeared to violate section 230 of the CDA. APPEARED to violate? Did it violate it or not? And what provision of the Constitution did it violate?

     

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  10.  
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    PRMan, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 4:08am

    Re: vonage to try and sue 2300 teksavvy users in canada

    This is Voltage Pictues, not Vonage the IP Phone company.

     

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  11.  
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    The Real Michael, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 5:25am

    Don't worry

    Although the law seems to have died, I'm sure that the content industries will attempt to resurrect it.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Do they even have that right?

    There's been much debate about this on the federal level as well, with the Obama Administration's refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

    Same situation-- Congress validly passed a law, but the Executive Branch is not enforcing or defending it.

     

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  13.  
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    JoeCool (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Easy to figure out...

    It was an election gimmick, and now that the election is over, there's no reason to support it any longer.

     

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  14.  
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    Bergman (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 4:25pm

    Typical politicians.

    Do something! Do ANYTHING! Even do the wrong thing! Just as long as they're seen to be doing something!

     

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  15.  
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    yosuuuup (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re:

    It does clearly violate Sec. 230 of the CDA, in that the section provides intermediary immunity. But just because it violates Sec. 230 of the CDA doesn't make it unconstitutional... Just wondering if that word was used in the title superfluously or for a reason?

     

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


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