Ohio Attorney General Says Google Not Protected By Section 230 In Antitrust Lawsuit

from the ah,-local-laws dept

Back in February, we highlighted a rather odd antitrust lawsuit brought against Google by a small company. Google had originally brought a lawsuit against the company in the Ohio state court system for failure to pay its advertising bills, and the company suddenly came back with a group of big name (expensive) lawyers (who just happen to have a connection with Microsoft), claiming antitrust violations against Google. Google filed to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that its protected in its actions under Section 230 — and that this trumps any state laws. It appears that Ohio’s Attorney General is siding with the local company. Eric Goldman points us to the news that the Attorney General is arguing that Section 230 does not apply here, saying that state laws trump Section 230 and that Google’s reasoning for why Section 230 apply are flawed:

The reasoning is a bit of inside baseball, but it’s interesting to note that even Ohio’s Attorney General is now getting involved in this case, which started as a small time attempt to collect some unpaid bills… and has now turned into something much, much bigger.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Ohio Attorney General Says Google Not Protected By Section 230 In Antitrust Lawsuit”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“Someone didn’t read the article or understands what’s going on!” oh noes!

not only did you manage to completely change the meaning of your rebuttal by making ‘understand’ plural, but the singular would have been some piss poor grammar as you need to pick a tense as stick with it. Maybe its good you didnt log in to claim that one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ohio isn't that bad folks, and neither is this filing

As an Ohioan I’m a little confused as to what is with the hating here. Section 230 prevents a site/service from being held liable with what it’s users say/do on a site, correct? In what way does that stop anti-trust issues of the hosting service from being relevant? I completely agree that this lawsuit is likely just a joke, and that Google will win. But, that doesn’t mean their argument that section 230 is what should be used to throw out the case is any more valid. I understand our state is looked down upon, or something, but w/e I think the A.G. was right in this filing, THAT argument isn’t good enough to just dismiss the case. Google should come up with another.

ohh and just for fun, I know the jokes about wanting to get away are funny, but does your state have that many astronauts? => http://www.cracked.com/article_18421_6-insane-coincidences-you-wont-believe-actually-happened_p2.html

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ohio isn't that bad folks, and neither is this filing

I agree that Section 230 alone seems like a poor reason to dismiss. If there is a claim in there that Google is acting anti-competitive by allowing the sale of keywords to competitors or some such, I can understand the invoking it on THAT particular section. (You know something like Google artificially raises the price because they sell our name to our competitors, and it should only be sold to us at the rate we want or something like that.)

That said, if the AG just said that, it probably would not be any sort of concern. What raises my eyebrows and concern of the state, is the indication that that section does not apply in Ohio. Now that the AG believes that Section 230 cannot be applied in the state, and if the courts agree, it opens up Ohio as the place to sue, potentially.

At least… that is what I see as the problem in the statements. (Not being a lawyer or anything.)

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ohio isn't that bad folks, and neither is this filing

It sounds to me (no lawyer here) like he’s not saying section 230 doesn’t apply in Ohio, but that if section 230 conflicts with a state law, then the state law takes precedence. Which if I understand correctly is completely backwards – federal law takes precedence over state, does it not?

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