Court Says Anti-Malware Software Maker Immune From Lawsuit From Zango

from the thank-you-section-230 dept

Infamous adware maker Zango may finally be dead, but its lawsuits live on. You may recall a few years back Zango sued security software maker Kaspersky for calling its product “spyware.” A court found that Kaspersky has every right to label the software as it feels is appropriate, noting that it’s immune from complaints from Zango under section 230 of the CDA.

Zango appealed, claiming that Kaspersky shouldn’t be immune because the CDA was only supposed to apply to websites, not software makers. The 9th circuit appeals court clearly disagrees and points out that this is exactly the sort of thing Section 230 should protect. It’s always nice to see courts reaffirm the immunity granted by Section 230 — especially since those protections have been under attack lately. Update: Eric Goldman has more.

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Companies: kaspersky, zango

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Comments on “Court Says Anti-Malware Software Maker Immune From Lawsuit From Zango”

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Eric the Grey says:


You may recall a few years back Zango sued security software maker Kaspersky for calling its product software.

Should that not be “spyware”?


On the topic at hand, this sets a great precedence with regards to spyware manufacturers. Now, suing companies who help us keep our systems clean don’t have to worry (quite as much) about being sued.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think the ruling is correct but shouldn’t be based on 230.

Zango has in the past paid fines to the FTC for using what were judged to be very poor installation methods (viral like). Further, Zango never really clearly spelled out all of the implication of their “service” to end users. Finally, users would trade a 1 minute video view for a lifetime of slavery to the Zango software, with no easy way to remove it (the uninstall was never truly complete).

As Zango reported all user activity back to it’s hive mind, it could be considered spyware, particularly by people who might of thought it only ran when they were on a zango site watching videos, example.

In the end, the end user asked to put Zango on their machine (it is the Zango standard defence) and the same end user asked software to remove it. They can’t have it only their way.

Robert A. Rosenberg (profile) says:

Kaspersky and Spyware Blocking

I do not use Kaspersky and thus do not know how it acts when it encounters something that it regards as Spyware.

Here is my view however.

First, as noted up-thread, the user must take a positive action to install it. Thus there is informed consent (unlike Zango which does a stealth install).

Second, if I ask Kaspersky to unistall, it will, and the resulting system status is the same as if I had never installed Kaspersky in the first place (again unlike Zango whose installer does not fully clean up the system and leaves some code still running even after the user says to delete the program).

Finally, and very important, I assume that when it detects what it classifies as Spyware, it INFORMS the user and offers the option of either blocking or allowing that “Spyware” program to run. IOW: While it has a database of Spyware programs, that database can be overridden so Kaspersky does not have the last say but allows the user once informed to tell Kaspersky to not block the program.

To me so long as Kaspersky does not take unilateral action but just offers the block the program, Zango has no gripe beyond being labled as Spyware since Kaspersky can allow the program to run if asked to by the user.

Krill (profile) says:

Ha, Imagine that. A company that is known for nothing but being a nuisance that nobody wants on their PC, is actually trying to sue for what amounts to defamation. Suing because they were called spyware? They ARE spyware verging on what I would consider malware due to the fact that their ‘service’ hogs up massive CPU cycles. I am glad they are no longer making money.

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