Sneaky Way To Get Past Section 230 Safe Harbors To Force Content Offline
from the this-should-be-watched dept
We all know the importance of Section 230 safe harbors that protect a service provider from actions done by its users. While there have been a few cases that chipped away at those protections, on the whole, they’re quite solid. However, Eric Goldman brings us the story of how some lawyers seem to be dealing with this. They’ve stopped suing the sites directly, but they then file a lawsuit against the party who actually created the content they want taken down — but if that person does not show up in court, then the suing party can get a default judgment, and then use that default judgment to get the content taken offline — since the default judgment can be used to enforce injunctions against third parties. From the perspective of the suing party, then, they have every incentive in the world to try to get a default judgment, rather than even fighting with the real person in court. Then, with the default judgment, they can force a site to take down the content. As Goldman notes:
For the price of a complaint and a defendant’s default (which can be engineered by targeting a phantom author), plaintiffs obtain an effective cudgel to excise unwanted content throughout the web.
That’s not a good thing.