Section 230 Keeps The Internet Open For Innovation

from the keep-in-that-way dept

Sex-trafficking victims in California are suing Salesforce, claiming the company helped the now-defunct website Backpage, a classified ads website, in enabling prostitution. Whatever your view on the harm to the plaintiffs, this suit could hurt American innovation. By holding Salesforce accountable for the actions of its customer, the suit opens the door for other innovators to be held responsible when users post illegal content ? a dangerous precedent in today?s internet era.

The question of who is responsible for online content is a difficult issue. Intermediary liability protection is the common-sense idea that internet platforms are not responsible for content posted by users. Enshrined in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, this law allowed American companies to be the innovators of the internet. In fact, the internet as we know it functions because of Section 230. Without Section 230, any site hosting user-generated content would have to screen every submission to avoid lawsuits.

On a practical basis, doing this in real time would be impossible due to the sheer amount of content created: Twitter alone hosts 350,000 tweets per minute; 200 billion tweets per year. Similarly, YouTube would be liable for any of the content its 1.9 billion monthly users might upload. If any single user post could lead to legal action against the social media platform, that platform would shut down.

Today’s internet experience would be virtually impossible.

And so Section 230, the cornerstone of today?s innovative internet, was considered inviolable ? until 2018, when Congress was approached by groups representing victims of sex trafficking (and quietly backed by Hollywood studios, the hotel industry and others who saw the chance to weaken online competitors that were taking their customers and disrupting their businesses). While some groups advocating for sex-trafficking victims opposed it, many of these proponents pushed FOSTA/SESTA into law, which allows trial lawyers to sue social media sites that ?facilitate? sex trafficking ? and, although undoubtedly well-intentioned, the bill takes aim at Section 230.

Though (oddly), the Salesforce lawsuit doesn’t invoke FOSTA/SESTA, the law’s hastily written language was so broad and vague it could potentially impose liability to any website with a comments section. And immediately, internet services began pulling down popular forums featuring consumer-generated content. Other websites eliminated sections or imposed broad filters. Congress made the internet experience less rich for users and more difficult for entrepreneurs, all while doing very little to protect actual victims of sex trafficking.

For all the damage done to free speech online, FOSTA/SESTA has had little upside. Backpage was seized by the FBI before the bill was signed into law, proving that FOSTA/SESTA was not necessary to take down wrongdoers. More, FOSTA/SESTA forced sex traffickers underground, making it harder for authorities to identify and rescue victims.

Fortunately, our nation knows how to choose freedom over fear and innovation over regulation. Consider the successful SOPA/PIPA protests of 2012, which pushed back against overbroad copyright laws that would have crushed the burgeoning digital economy. Thanks to the protests, websites with user-generated content continue to flourish today.

Section 230 is the legal foundation of the internet ? not a shield for criminal liability. But it remains an important protection to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to start internet businesses. We can’t allow misguided rulemaking and ruinous litigation to discourage that. We must keep the internet open for innovation.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and a New York Times best-selling author. He is the author of the new book, Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation. His views are his own.

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Companies: backpage, salesforce

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Comments on “Section 230 Keeps The Internet Open For Innovation”

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146 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Fortunately, our nation knows how to choose freedom over fear and innovation over regulation.

[Citation needed]

The SOPA/PIPA protests were great but were also an outlier example of success. Please explain how, in general, our nation has a good track record of choosing freedom over fear and innovation over regulation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Section 230 is fatally flawed.

Supporters of this law deliberately ignore “distributor liability” for defamation, a separate harm (e.g., Google search results) from that inflicted by the original publisher (e.g., some lone poster on a forum read by a dozen people). People who are defamed online often wind up having to answer for lies by everyone with whom they interact, including employers. No one should have to do this, but thanks to 230, they do, as search engines don’t have to remove lies about people. This also allows people to weaponize search engines that they know will tag their targets literally everywhere they go. Some lies even lead to vigilantes who are violent.

Section 230 also enables “reputation blackmail” from foreigners who extort thousands of dollars from Americans under threat of ruining their reputation. Those who say “sue the original publisher” ignore the cost of doing so, even when possible, or that most “original publishers” cannot be found. Some use “burner IPs” (public wifi, etc.) that make suing the original publisher impossible, after which all republishers/distributors are immune under 230. We might as well just abolish libel law altogether, so that those who are lied about can lie right back.

Section 230 also has indirect consequences like silencing whistleblowers (who are often defamed as a result), or rewarding false advertising that can lead to someone hiring a malicious contractor who cuts corners and lies about their competition in order to get jobs. Fake reviews and false advertising are also enabled by 230, and make it impossible to trust anything you read online, especially where money is at stake.

Finally, 230 sets people up to be sued because they are not immune from suit if they “reiterate” what they find in a search engine, without linking to the original source. People will often say something like “This person is a _____” without attribution, which makes them the original publisher. Female victims of revenge porn have had to change their names, or some have committed suicide, due to the 24/7 harassment they face, all enabled by Section 230.

No other country has an equivalent law to 230. Australia and the UK do not, and the internet still exists there. Even the Supreme Court of the United States has yet to rule on 230, as the call to eliminate or reform the law grows louder, and not a moment too soon.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Section 230 is fatally flawed.

Your rebuttal does not address how you expect user-generated content to exist without 230. A website would be liable for content that went up even if it was taken down later.

As Shapiro points out that would mean holding and pre-screening all content for liability issues.

You have pointed out what you see are pitfalls of free speech, and your solution is to broaden liability at the expense of discourse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your rebuttal does not address how you expect user-generated content to exist without 230. A website would be liable for content that went up even if it was taken down later.

Not under a notice-and-takedown scheme. Other countries without 230 still have websites with comments and UGC. How is that possible?

As Shapiro points out that would mean holding and pre-screening all content for liability issues.

Not under a notice-and-takedown scheme.

You have pointed out what you see are pitfalls of free speech, and your solution is to broaden liability at the expense of discourse.

As opposed to broadening discourse at the expense of truth and reputations, against two centuries of precedent for distributor liability.

No one should have to answer to internet lies over which they cannot sue. No one should be forced to engage in expensive an impossible litigation just because one person with an axe to grind weaponized search engines by defaming them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

eutral members of the audience
You yourself said this place is an echo chamber. Now you’re saying there are "neutral" members of an audience, which many detractors you hold in high esteem say don’t exist, because nobody serious ever reads Masnick?
Which is it?

Boy you’re obsessed with me.

The posters are mostly an echo chamber, though many stumble in here from Google, who gives this place an inexplicably high ranking.

Wonder how much money Masnick makes from Google each year.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You know, ‘neutral members of the audience’ has essentually strayed outside the scope of 230. All 230 would do is shield TD from criminal liability if non TD people (not sure what he’s frothing about with neutral… maybe it means ‘not employed by TD’) are assholes/post one of the the rather rare ‘illegal speech’ message, etc.

Of course 230 does not shield TD from court orders to take down specific content.

So basicaly I’m not sure how the audiance could possibly exploit the ‘flaws’ in 230 that he claims to trust them to ignore (while here on TD… on their own sites sure that makes since, but then it’s no longer ‘audience’)

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

The poster creates the content. Either their websites or the services they use to display the content distribute it. Search engines scrape websites and display links to the content in what is essentially a card catalog for the Internet. If a library stocks a book that is later found to have defamatory content in it, how much blame for “distribution of defamatory content” should be put on the person who updated the library’s card catalog when the library acquired the book?

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That’s very close.

Search engine is the Library Card Catalog.

So making the search engines remove links is the same as removing ONE of the THREE cards in the Catalog.

The book with the defamatory content is still on the shelf, you’ve just made it more difficult to find it.

Oddball thought that brings to mind…. how many people can currently work a card catalog effectively? How many know why there are three cards for each book?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not under a notice-and-takedown scheme.

Then we would have an easily abused extrajudicial censorship system with little-to-no real punishments for abuse. We already have the DMCA; a NaT system for removing potentially defamatory content (which is still legally protected speech) before a court decides whether it is defamatory would be a nightmare.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not under a notice-and-takedown scheme.
Then we would have an easily abused extrajudicial censorship system with little-to-no real punishments for abuse. We already have the DMCA; a NaT system for removing potentially defamatory content (which is still legally protected speech) before a court decides whether it is defamatory would be a nightmare.

We have had "extrajudicial takedown" in copyright and defamation law forever, since awareness causes liability. The DMCA actually allows the material to be reposted.

Platforms are free to ignore notice, but in doing so, they are defending the content as if they were the publisher. That’s not an "extrajudicial takedown," but rather a platform deciding it doesn’t want to be sued for likely illegal content.

You either aren’t aware of this or you are just pretending not to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

We have had "extrajudicial takedown" in copyright and defamation law forever
That fact does not make the system any less bullshit.

The DMCA gives a platform put on notice the right to restore the content with full immunity, however, which was not the case prior to the DMCA.

The DMCA is therefore not a new "extrajudicial takedown" system.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

The DMCA gives a platform put on notice the right to restore the content with full immunity

Yes, it does. After a counternotice has been filed. And only after a two-week waiting period during which the person(s) who filed the takedown notice receive access to the counternotice filer’s personal information, then decide whether to sue the accused so their content will be determined “infringing” and the accuser(s) will receive compensation. And this is after the original notice is filed — you know, the mere accusation of “infringement” that forces a website to take down content that has not yet been ruled “infringing” in a court of law, may not have its copyright held by the accuser, and may not even have a copyright at all¹.

Any system that uses a law to remove content before a court can decide whether that content should be removed, all on the behest of an accusation that may not be accurate (or legal), is an extrajudicial system of censorship. Applying it to copyright law is bad enough. Applying it to defamation law would be catastrophic for online speech.

¹ — For reference.

blademan9999 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And many of those websites will only allow comments for certain aritcles and disallow them for others. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen "we are not accepting comments for legal reasons." on the Daily Mail for example.

And the quantity of UGC on websites with comment sections is tiny compared to what you have on youtube, twitter, facebook, tumblr, reddit, deviantart, ETC.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"And the quantity of UGC on websites with comment sections is tiny compared to what you have on youtube, twitter, facebook, tumblr, reddit, deviantart, ETC."

Then, of course, how far does liability actually go without section 230? For example, would Amazon be directly liable for the content of any site hosted on AWS? The actual effects would be devastating for almost anything online if idiots are able to hold to nearest innocent target liable just because they provided some hosting.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No one should have to answer to internet lies over which they cannot sue. No one should be forced to engage in expensive an impossible litigation just because one person with an axe to grind weaponized search engines by defaming them.

I’ve been there as the victim. Random troll makes up lies and posts them to a review website, then resident troll "Hamilton" makes a career out of posting links to the lies and copying and pasting the lies over and over again here on TD.

Not Google’s fault because Hamilton was able to find them, not ROR’s fault for hosting them even though they’ve been provided with proof that it’s a troll post; it’s the troll’s fault for posting those lies. And as I’ve stated many times before, actual harm means something harmful happens. Being hauled into the office to explain to my bosses why they were being directly contacted with links to the troll post and a request to fire me is not actual harm. Being fired would have been, but I wasn’t fired. I was later promoted.

Ultimately, the only harm that was done in my case was to ROR as they can’t be relied upon to provide accurate and truthful reviews on services because they won’t remove troll posts even if you pay them to; they’ll only remove the parts a lawyer declares are actually harmful. The rest of the "review" will remain in place. They also offer to downgrade the search results of the dodgy reviews if you pay them but they’ll never remove them.

If anyone weaponised anything in my case it was the original troll, who has since found another bridge to lurk beneath, and our dear friend Hamilton, who proves you wrong every time he takes yet another pop at me. As for the "weapon," imagine a water pistol that merely drips on the floor. That’s how effective lies are when nobody believes them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Supporters of this law deliberately ignore “distributor liability” for defamation, a separate harm (e.g., Google search results) from that inflicted by the original publisher (e.g., some lone poster on a forum read by a dozen people).

No one ignores distributor liability. Part of the point of 230 is to say that distributor liability does not make sense on the internet… because it would make much of the internet impossible to function properly.

No one should have to do this, but thanks to 230, they do, as search engines don’t have to remove lies about people.

Section 230(c)(2) encourages removal of such things, and nearly every site will, in fact, remove such content when receiving a court ruling on defamatory content. So the "problem" you discuss rarely appears in real life.

Section 230 also has indirect consequences like silencing whistleblowers (who are often defamed as a result), or rewarding false advertising that can lead to someone hiring a malicious contractor who cuts corners and lies about their competition in order to get jobs. Fake reviews and false advertising are also enabled by 230, and make it impossible to trust anything you read online, especially where money is at stake.

Can you point to a single example of this ever happening? The reality is that without a CDA 230, the situations you describe would be much worse, as there wouldn’t be any reviews allowed at all, or threats would be used to take down the negative reviews, meaning that bad actors would be able to block criticism. 230 stops that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No one ignores distributor liability. Part of the point of 230 is to say that distributor liability does not make sense on the internet… because it would make much of the internet impossible to function properly.

When people say Google inflicts no harm they are ignoring why distributor liability exists. If the internet needs to destroy lives to "function properly" then the internet needs to be redesigned. The internet functions just fine without this immunity in other countries.

No one should have to do this, but thanks to 230, they do, as search engines don’t have to remove lies about people.
Section 230(c)(2) encourages removal of such things, and nearly every site will, in fact, remove such content when receiving a court ruling on defamatory content.

That’s assuming the original publisher can be found and sued at all, or that the person defamed can afford to sue. Lies about individuals should never be allowed to exist in search engines.

So the "problem" you discuss rarely appears in real life.

The "acceptable loss" argument. How many Pintos can blow up "acceptably?"

*Section 230 also has indirect consequences like silencing whistleblowers (who are often defamed as a result), or rewarding false advertising that can lead to someone hiring a malicious contractor who cuts corners and lies about their competition in order to get jobs. Fake reviews and false advertising are also enabled by 230, and make it impossible to trust anything you read online, especially where money is at stake.

Can you point to a single example of this ever happening? The reality is that without a CDA 230, the situations you describe would be much worse, as there wouldn’t be any reviews allowed at all, or threats would be used to take down the negative reviews, meaning that bad actors would be able to block criticism. 230 stops that.*

230 enables defamation as a retaliatory weapon. Without 230, that weapon is neutralized because platforms can’t be weaponized without the platform facing liability. Australia and the UK see this a lot more clearly than the people here pretend not to.

I’ve already been called a scammer here, which means if my name ever gets out, I can sue over that. That’s a great example right there. Without 230, Masnick could be sued for it in that scenario, as he could be in the UK or Australia…IF my name ever got out.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Do you even know what day it is old man?

Poor debate tactic of yours.

But we aren’t debating you, we’re pointing out that you are wrong. And repeating the same falsehoods still not going to make you right.

Posting 30 times every article that "230 enables defamation" isn’t going to make it true. 230 enables speech, which may contain falsehoods and unpleasant facts…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Distributor Liability

But we aren’t debating you, we’re pointing out that you are wrong. And repeating the same falsehoods still not going to make you right.

Why, then, is Google being sued for defamation in Australia, if they didn’t harm anyone?

Many others, including many in Congress, happen to agree with me, btw. Governments in ALL other countries do as well. You’re actually in the minority if you want to go the argument-ad-populum route.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Distributor Liability

Why, then, is Google being sued for defamation in Australia, if they didn’t harm anyone?

Ok, is your script so short you have to keep repeating the same lame points? Google is being sued because they have the most money. Australia does not have 230 protection so is relevant.
Your should ask your boss for a better script!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Distributor Liability

Seriously, Milorad Truckrally’s only claim to fame is that he’s sued for permission to sue Google because a photo of him exists when he was in physical proximity to a gangster. Nothing more.

He’s not suing the photographer or newspaper that ran the picture.

He literally thinks that typing "milorad surnameIcan’ttypecorrectly gangster" offers up a deluge of articles and news pieces calling him a gangster instead of the coverage of this case.

And the fucked up thing is, so does Jhon, only because it’s relevant to his 230 rants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Distributor Liability

He literally thinks that typing "milorad surnameIcan’ttypecorrectly gangster" offers up a deluge of articles and news pieces calling him a gangster instead of the coverage of this case.

The Australian court seems to think the same thing, and they have a lot more credibility than you do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Distributor Liability

Why, then, is Google being sued for defamation in Australia, if they didn’t harm anyone?

Ok, is your script so short you have to keep repeating the same lame points? Google is being sued because they have the most money.

That doesn’t explain why the lawsuit wasn’t dismissed. Why did the courts allow the lawsuit?

Australia does not have 230 protection so is relevant.

Even then, the Australian court would have to believe that Google harmed the individual. Why do they, if Google didn’t harm anyone? It seems that the Australian judiciary knows a lot more than you do.

Your should ask your boss for a better script!

There is no boss telling me what to post. Perhaps some people here are projecting.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Distributor Liability

Even then, the Australian court would have to believe that Google harmed the individual. Why do they, if Google didn’t harm anyone? It seems that the Australian judiciary knows a lot more than you do.

Oooh, that would be an interesting take if you hadn’t completely made up the Australian angle. As pointed out – multiple times – it wasn’t what you are saying. And also – still Australian law. And Google didn’t harm anyone in that case.

I feel very confidant that Australian law is not US law, something you don’t seem to grasp.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Distributor Liability

Oooh, that would be an interesting take if you hadn’t completely made up the Australian angle. As pointed out – multiple times – it wasn’t what you are saying. And also – still Australian law. And Google didn’t harm anyone in that case.

Then why is Google facing liability? For NOT harming anyone?

Illogical.

Yes, AUS law is different from ours, as is UK law, Indian law, Canadian law, etc. Section 230 is out of step with the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Distributor Liability

_Then why is Google facing liability? For NOT harming anyone?

Illogical._

Yes, the premise is completely fucking illogical.

This isn’t even one of your magical scenarios where Milorad has no idea who to sue or who the original publisher is. The original publisher of the photos he finds so damning is established, recognized fact. Also, since "burner IP Russian bots" is such a go-to phrase for you, Milorad Trump and the original publisher exist in the same country.

Milorad Trotsky could sue the original newspaper in Australia and the planet would not have been any wiser. Instead, thanks to him choosing to sue Google, the entire globe knows he exists.

Thanks for breaking it, hero.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Distributor Liability

This repeated non sequitur of yours is just absurd.
"But someone is suing Google in Australia" is not a valid response to explanations of why your false assertions are false.

It is to anyone with an IQ over 50. All you respond with are insults, and in doing so, you show you have no valid rebuttal.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Distributor Liability

"Why, then, is Google being sued for defamation in Australia, if they didn’t harm anyone?"

Because Australia is, right now, a deep pit of ineptitude and disastrous legislation – according to most experts in law and technology.

As I keep saying, it is a mistake to use a country which has managed to make it illegal to write functional software as a guidepost for IT legislation.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Distributor Liability

[Addendum]

Your claim is, in other words, like using a court case from Teheran as an example of "freedom of religion" in practise.

But hey, Baghdad Bob, I’m not surprised you cling to that aussie case since in the anglo-saxon world that is just that one pile of badly written garbage you could find to back you up.

And even were it otherwise that case isn’t giving you the example you were looking for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Do you even know what day it is old man?

But we aren’t debating you, we’re pointing out that you are wrong.

That’s called debating, and in your case, presenting your opinion as if it were fact.

And repeating the same falsehoods still not going to make you right. Posting 30 times every article that "230 enables defamation" isn’t going to make it true. 230 enables speech, which may contain falsehoods and unpleasant facts…

Presenting your opinion as fact won’t make it factual either.

Most of the audience is neutral when they stumble into this debate. Those who don’t have reason to deliberately ignore logic won’t. 230 is fatally flawed.

cpt kangarooski says:

Re: Re:

Finally, 230 sets people up to be sued because they are not immune from suit if they “reiterate” what they find in a search engine, without linking to the original source. People will often say something like “This person is a _____” without attribution, which makes them the original publisher.

In case anyone is being misled by the dope who posted it, the above statement is totally false. 47 USC 230 protects individuals as well as platforms. There is no requirement of attribution in the law at all; so long as someone else said it or wrote it first, a failure to attribute it to a previous person will not get you in trouble.

I believe that the guy who claimed it mattered is just lying about it because he hates the law and wants to mislead people about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

In case anyone is being misled by the dope who posted it, the above statement is totally false. 47 USC 230 protects individuals as well as platforms.

Not if they just repeat what they read without linking to it, and many do just that. Also not if they do it offline, say at a company water cooler.

There is no requirement of attribution in the law at all; so long as someone else said it or wrote it first, a failure to attribute it to a previous person will not get you in trouble.

Wrong. "One person told this lie" is not a get-out-of-being-sued card. The lack of "reiteration" would cause liability, and without attribution, there is no source material. "I heard it on the internet" doesn’t give immunity.

Someone somewhere called Masnick a __.

I believe that the guy who claimed it mattered is just lying about it because he hates the law and wants to mislead people about it.

That was a judge in Connecticut.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

it’s in the link I posted about the "reiteration" requirement.

Common sense: if someone calls someone else a libelous name without anything else in the posting, it’s an original publication. Even endorsing a link to defamatory content can be considered original publication.

Section 230 was designed as a shield, not a sword. Its use as a sword is why Congress is starting to consider repealing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mr. Shapiro appears fortunate or irrelevant enough not to be targeted by the type of internet defamation that exploits the flaws of 230. Female victims of revenge porn have not been so lucky, and no I’m not endorsing anyone put up naked pictures of this man to prove the point. That would create a separate, visual harm.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

I’m not endorsing anyone put up naked pictures of this man to prove the point

Have you ever heard of stochastic terrorism? While I would not dare characterize the sentence quoted above as “terrorism” in any sense of the word, it is clearly an idea intended to find its way into the head of some random asshole who will make it a reality. “Now, I’m not saying someone should [specific act] to [specific person], buuuuuuuuuuut…” is a transparent attempt at plausible deniability — that is, an attempt to keep your ass from being held legally liable if someone were to take your “suggestion” and run with it to the fullest extent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Have you ever heard of stochastic terrorism? While I would not dare characterize the sentence quoted above as “terrorism” in any sense of the word, it is clearly an idea intended to find its way into the head of some random asshole who will make it a reality. “Now, I’m not saying someone should [specific act] to [specific person], buuuuuuuuuuut…” is a transparent attempt at plausible deniability — that is, an attempt to keep your ass from being held legally liable if someone were to take your “suggestion” and run with it to the fullest extent.

Actually it was a joke involving the likely unappealing nature of such pictures of a male versus say a really attractive female.

Anonymous Coward says:

Female victims of revenge porn have not been so lucky

Once again your scare tactic is senseless. Revenge porn site operators have been arrested. Your point is moot.

The only operator(s) arrested were those who had a hand in uploading the images.

The burner-IP scenario is as self-evident as a drunk-driving scenario is to auto accidents.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Impotent old fuckwit yell at internet. Film at 11

Hey bro. If all you’re gonna do is shit up another perfectly good thread with more of the same obvious lies we are gonna just start ignoring you. So let’s skip right past the part where you impotently threaten to sue/rape/expose/assault anyone who calls you out on your idiotic bullshit, and straight to the part where you run away like the little bitch you are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Impotent old fuckwit yell at internet. Film at 11

Hey bro. If all you’re gonna do is shit up another perfectly good thread with more of the same obvious lies we are gonna just start ignoring you. So let’s skip right past the part where you impotently threaten to sue/rape/expose/assault anyone who calls you out on your idiotic bullshit, and straight to the part where you run away like the little bitch you are.

I have never threatened to rape anyone. Saying I did is pure libel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Impotent old fuckwit yell at internet. Film at 1

I have never threatened to rape anyone. Saying I did is pure libel. I don’t think you know what libel is. Your high-powered lawyer is giving you bad advice – is he a scammer like you?

Didn’t have to ask a lawyer about that one. A false accusation of a rape threat is prima facia libel.

Speaking of lawyers, didn’t that porn lawyer who isn’t Avenatti just get sanctioned?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Impotent old fuckwit yell at internet. F

Yes, Nicoletti got himself owned just like your clowns at Prenda Law. Now how is it that copyright enforcement consistently staffs itself with the best people they can find, i.e. scammers?

Wasn’t talking about Nicoletti, but a very well-known case instead.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Impotent old fuckwit yell at internet. Film

Didn’t have to ask a lawyer about that one. A false accusation of a rape threat is prima facia libel

Oh then you can identify the target of the libel? It and a smear if you aren’t smearing someone.

Now calling you an idiot for thinking otherwise – that’s protected, and confirmed because you just said something stoopid Jho Bro.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Come at me bro

You really were too drunkies to remember eh? That’s ok it’s not like there’s IP logs or anything. I really really can’t wait for discovery to see what else you don’t remember saying bro.

No, I didn’t say it. Someone else might have, but I did not.

To say I did is pure libel. If my name comes out, I can sue over it.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The burner-IP scenario is … self-evident

Then point to a single factual citation of your scenario ever happening. No “oh but they’ll be defamed” excuses, no mindless repetition of your lie — just a single, honest-to-God citation of fact that can be independently verified. Anything else is preschool playground horseshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Aside from the fact that statement is clearly not self-evident..
How does one burn an IP? Are you perhaps referring to Anonymous posts?

There are IP addresses which are public and through which an author cannot be traced. There is no way to stop defamation from these "burner IP" addresses. Once the defamation is online, it is archived by search engines who are immune under section 230, leaving people defenseless against defamation.

The same is true of anonymous remailers that can post to USENET, a/k/a "Google Groups," even if that is not run by Google.

ANYONE can be targeted this way. Even when the poster is not anonymous, they could be judgment-proof or in another country. Section 230 should account for this, if it’s going to survive, and allow people to defend against this tactic. A notice-and-takedown scheme similar to the DMCA would also work.

People’s reputations take first priority.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

People’s reputations take first priority.

Over legally protected speech? No, they do not.

A notice-and-takedown system for defamation would censor speech that may not be defamatory, just hurtful or insulting or offensive, via governmental intervention. If the U.S. government cannot properly police the DMCA system for abuse and punish DMCA abusers to even the slightest extent, how do you ever expect it to police a system that can take down damn near any kind of speech on a mere accusation of defamation by someone who merely had their feelings hurt?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Over legally protected speech? No, they do not.

Defamation is not legally protected speech.

A notice-and-takedown system for defamation would censor speech that may not be defamatory, just hurtful or insulting or offensive, via governmental intervention. If the U.S. government cannot properly police the DMCA system for abuse and punish DMCA abusers to even the slightest extent, how do you ever expect it to police a system that can take down damn near any kind of speech on a mere accusation of defamation by someone who merely had their feelings hurt?

The DMCA enables platforms to repost content "extrajudicially." The notice-and-takedown system is not mandatory. Instead, copyright and defamation law merely allow for someone to be sued once they are put "on notice."

The reason "notice" confers liability is that courts expect people to mitigate damages by putting those they believed harmed them on notice. A site is free to ignore this notice and stand behind the speech as legal, but they face liability if they are wrong.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There are IP addresses which are public and through which an author cannot be traced.

So you hate anonymous posters. Noted.

ANYONE can be targeted this way. Even when the poster is not anonymous,

Yes – scammers can target anyone. As you well know, scammers prey on lies. Especially those that write self-help books.

People’s reputations take first priority.

No, if reputation was important you’d proudly identify yourself. You are proof that reputation takes a back seat to scream at the clouds and scamming people. Or repeating the same lies again and again and again…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There are IP addresses which are public and through which an author cannot be traced.
So you hate anonymous posters. Noted.

No, I was pointing out that there are cases where the original publisher literally cannot be sued. You either don’t understand this or you are pretending not to understand this.

ANYONE can be targeted this way. Even when the poster is not anonymous,
Yes – scammers can target anyone. As you well know, scammers prey on lies. Especially those that write self-help books.

Yes, I know you’re jealous of people who actually can succeed at helping others to help themselves. This also includes how-to books like Beat The Dealer, which helped many make millions counting cards in blackjack. Any book on how to succeed in a job interview must also be a scam, right? And of course that book on how to gain friends and influence that sold 50 million copies had to be bogus.

People’s reputations take first priority.
No, if reputation was important you’d proudly identify yourself.

If my name got out, what was posted about me here would become actionable defamation.

You are proof that reputation takes a back seat to scream at the clouds and scamming people. Or repeating the same lies again and again and again…

If my name were out, calling me a scammer would have you sued in a heartbeat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"I’ll sue ya! I’ll take all of yer money! If you knew my name! I’m compiling a list of 150+ posts of over two dozen of Masnick’s 4chan trolls! You’re all dead! The moment my name is out you’re all fucked!

…What, actually give my name? Oh, that would never do, too much paperwork. But I’m coming for you fucking Aspies, just wait for my subpoena!"

Nina Paley was right. Copyright is brain damage.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"Nina Paley was right. Copyright is brain damage."

Worse. Copyright is inherently a religion. "Licensing" takes the place of the old letters of indulgence.
Faith is given to an immaterial concept which can not be shown in empirical trials.
Every calculation made on the "business model" has to be based on the assumption that a given number of people will have been conned into paying real money for immaterial and unprovable items.

Copyright isn’t brain damage per se. It’s a toxic meme; in order to believe which people have to jettison their ability to comprehend factual reality or live with permanent cognitive dissonance.

It’s no wonder the copyright enforcement industry is overrepresented by con artists who believe in nothing but their ability to defraud as many people as possible for as much money as possible. Anyone actually believing that concept eventually ends up being unable to live outside the cult.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

^This. Article of faith: copyright is a fountain flowing deep and wide for all who hold it dear. And if you’re British, it’s the principle of the thing, damn it!

Not really having a go at Brits per se, just annoyed as hell that logic takes a back seat where a principle is at stake. See Brexit for details.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"…And if you’re British, it’s the principle of the thing, damn it!"

Cue Sir Humphrey Appleby going "It’s the way we’ve done things for the last two centuries!"

"…just annoyed as hell that logic takes a back seat where a principle is at stake. See Brexit for details."

Yeah, the parliament shafting May’s hard-won brexit option over "because we can!" gave me yet another palm-sized callus on my face.

That said I can’t even decide, anymore, whether the brits are idiots for trying to brexit while knowing the EU will stock it to them any way they can for daring to leave the gang…
…or whether they’re just pioneering that hard road the rest of us will eventually have to follow once the EU collapses like any other grandiose attempt at turning europe into an empire with prussian humanitarianism, spanish government accountability, french legislation, and polish parliamentary custom.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

They’re idiots. A lot of the people who voted for Brexit are in areas that are utterly dependent on EU finding, they were just too stupid to realise. Plus, the predictable effects of it are already screwing people (for example, anyone dumb enough to believe the NHS bus slogan should be noticing the massive drop in nurses from EU countries recently). Sadly they apparently are stupid enough to fall for Farage’s lies again according to polls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If my name were out, calling me a scammer would have you sued in a heartbeat.
Then why worry about us referring to what is essentially a fictional character (“Jhon Smith”) as a scammer?

If at any point in the future my name comes out, those posts become actionable.

I don’t post under my name to protect YOU from your own malice. You’d get yourself sued within minutes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Your posts were “actionable” yesterday and the day before and the day before. You are a pathetic impotent old fuckwit who just can’t seem to stop lying and threatening people. I don’t know how else to tell you Jhon boi. But no one care who you think you are. And no one is frightened by your laughably bad threats. And what’s worst of all is you’re starting to bore. And once you lose this crowd you’ll be just another has been nutjob who no one give two tenths of fetid rat corpse about, like blue balls or Hamilton. So enjoy your time in the spotlight before we start indifferently flagging you like the loser you are.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"If at any point in the future my name comes out, those posts become actionable"

They really don’t, as it’s clear that nobody knew who you actually were at the time the comments were made. People are attacking the fictional character you chose to present, not you as a person in real life, and you’d be laughed out of any court for trying to action anything against anybody here.

Although, I dare say that your reputation would undoubtedly be destroyed if your real identity were ever linked to your posts here. Not because of accusations from other people, but due to the way you have conducted yourself here in your own posts.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Although, I dare say that your reputation would undoubtedly be destroyed if your real identity were ever linked to your posts here. Not because of accusations from other people, but due to the way you have conducted yourself here in your own posts.

That Jhon allows himself to put up defamatory and threatening comments onto Techdirt shows we shouldn’t treat him as a serious source.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"If at any point in the future my name comes out, those posts become actionable."

That’s not how "Law" works, Baghdad Bob.

In fact if your name ever comes out we’d be in the clear. You, however, have libeled and slandered several people which you have named which means if your name ever does get out the only walkover-won case which will exist is the one where you’ll be the named defendant.

We’re all hoping your hysterical megalomania will one day get the better of you to the point where you actually do get law enforcement working that case you keep saying you’ve been building. So keep at it, oh architect of your own destruction.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, I was pointing out that there are cases where the original publisher literally cannot be sued. You either don’t understand this or you are pretending not to understand this.

Nope, I understand that sometimes you can’t sue the person who makes false claims.

For example – some self-help guru in Russia wants to torpedo your business. They go to the post office and send false claims to all your clients and your publisher, doing you harm to your rep and business. But the Russian didn’t put a return address on this letters!

And John Smith wants to hold his local mail carrier and the post office liable because he can’t sue the rival scammer in Russia. Because they re-published the defamation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, I was pointing out that there are cases where the original publisher literally cannot be sued. You either don’t understand this or you are pretending not to understand this.
Nope, I understand that sometimes you can’t sue the person who makes false claims.
For example – some self-help guru in Russia wants to torpedo your business. They go to the post office and send false claims to all your clients and your publisher, doing you harm to your rep and business. But the Russian didn’t put a return address on this letters!

Except this is not an ongoing concern as it is with a search engine which can simply remove a posting.

Either he doesn’t understand the difference or he’s pretending not to.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Except that search engines don’t remove postings. They remove search engine results."

Yep, this needs to be repeated until it finally get through that thick skull. The content is still out there. There’s still hundreds of ways for people to find the content. He just wants to remove one of the easiest methods of finding it and call it job done.

Not only is what he’s demanding idiotic, it’s astoundingly lazy and ineffective for someone who claims to want to address the actual problem.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

^This. When I wanted troll crap about me removed I approached the platforms with evidence and politely pointed out that the "reviews" weren’t accurate. They removed them at once, with the exception of the one Hamilton keeps bringing up. I left a rebuttal up that proves it’s a troll post so anyone who reads it will see the rebuttal, so Hamilton self-owns every time he posts it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"If there is a pile of manure in a space, do not try to remove the odor by ventilation. Remove the pile of manure."

— Max von Pettenkofer, 1858

Apparently, Jhonny keeps wanting to try to ventilate the stench surrounding his online presence away, while ignoring the pile of manure right behind him…

Boyle T. Cabbage-Down says:

No one disputes allows corporate profits without risk.

Techdirt / Masnick and these yahoos have circularly self-serving money-based definition of "good" which never includes for society overall.

But has Section 230 brought any actual benefits to society? — These links are all up Drudge right now, quite typical:

TULSI: Silicon Valley Throwing Free Speech Out Window…

https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2019/05/15/tulsi-gabbard-on-joe-rogan-silicon-valley-is-throwing-free-speech-out-the-window/

Mayor Pete was Zuckerberg’s 287th user. Now says it has too much power…

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/05/14/pete-buttigieg-facebook-harvard-break-up-big-tech/

Teen jumped to death after INSTAGRAM poll…

http://news.trust.org/item/20190515091101-3ss0p

SELENA GOMEZ: Social media terrible for my generation…

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/may/15/selena-gomez-social-media-instagram-cannes-film-festival

Intel Agencies Invest in AI to Track People Across Video Surveillance Networks…

https://www.nextgov.com/analytics-data/2019/05/iarpa-needs-more-training-data-video-surveillance-algorithms/156931/

US abstains from global pledge to curb online violence (this may actually be good, but discusses Facebook)

https://apnews.com/9aa77864e6754a5e9624c6f864691f28

Sheerly on numbers is this one article praising 230 and on Drudge are SIX much larger stories showing problem with "social media" and the surveillance capitalism it’s enabled. Reality is not so rosy as the lies above have it.

-m-a-s-n-i-c-k-s -h-a-t-e -r-u-l-e-s -e-s-p -h-o-r-i-z-o-n-t-a-l-s

And a big shout-out to astro-turfing "Gary" for so many comments trying to gin up some interest here! — Another problem intrinsic to corporations made immune is hidden propaganda / control of what’s "news".

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A dangerous precedent?

Yes, a dangerous precedent. For example, if a news organization hosted a traitor and held him up as a verified expert. For example, what CNN did for John Brennan. That was a precedent, and a dangerous one. The media siding with traitors against the American President and against the American People.

CNN should be held liable for their promotion of a traitorous rat bastard.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Who’s wearing what mask at the conspiracy ball?

Ohh looks like we got all three resident nutters here to dance caper and jape for our amusement.

Munchausen’s by proxy is when someone without medical qualifications imputes illness on another.

I hope those two congressmen who have an article here read this site and see the slurs used in place of logic. Maybe they’ll move to repeal 230. If they won’t, others will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 you probably weren’t a very good scammer either

I emailed them yesterday. They agreed you were an old impotent fuckwit. More importantly, that’s pretty far from Munchausens by proxy. Though if we are gonna throw around big medical words I think Pseudologica Fantastica fits you to a T. As evidenced by you lying about something there’s no need to lie about in order to try and fail insult someone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 you probably weren’t a very good scammer either

What we’re seeing here, I believe, is a textbook case of apophenia.

It takes a special sort of brain to look at Section 230, click his tongue and say, "Aha, this law legalizes rape and murder. But most terrible of all, it suggests that IP addresses as evidence may not be accurate!"

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 you probably weren’t a very good scammer either

It takes a special sort of FBI to use a Dossier written about Trump in Russia with Russian Sources, and then validate it with a sanctioned Russian agent who is a friend of Putin. Think about that. The evidence used to SPY on the Trump campaign came direct from Russians. And the investigation was into whether Trump was coordinating with the Russians. The Russians told the FBI that Trump might be coordinating with the Russians, that’s written right in the FISA applications. So the FBI SPIED on Trump to see if he talked to Russians.

Which he didn’t.

But the FBI and CIA relied on Russian sourced information to SPY on Americans.

The Russians were running Brennan and Comey, likely still are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 you probably weren’t a very good scammer eithe

Don’t forget the media’s role in all of this. They are literally doing Putin’s work for him, and have been for years. Putin is speaking directly to Americans with Russian Lies through CNN, MSNBC, etc., and so on.

You will see all this in the Inspector General’s report.

True.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 you probably weren’t a very good scammer either

I emailed them yesterday. They agreed you were an old impotent fuckwit. More importantly, that’s pretty far from Munchausens by proxy. Though if we are gonna throw around big medical words I think Pseudologica Fantastica fits you to a T. As evidenced by you lying about something there’s no need to lie about in order to try and fail insult someone

Really? Those two congressmen actually said that? I’ll e-mail them and ask for a formal comment on that.

Good to know.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Who’s wearing what mask at the conspiracy ball?

Munchausen’s by proxy is when someone without medical qualifications imputes illness on another.

No it’s when a scammer ebook publisher constantly posts lies again and again trying to get people to believe him so he can sell self help books.

Do you actually see the irony that the other AC has Munchausen Syndrome (aka FDIA) because they can’t be qualified? So now – the scammer John Smith is also practicing medicine without a license. Federal crime in the states, mate.

Apologies if you aren’t the notorious ebook scammer John Smith!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Who’s wearing what mask at the conspiracy ball

“Mate”? Are you UK or Australian? Who cares? American don’t care. Here is what Americans care about: John Brennan said today that it was the FBI’s job to not use a fake dossier, so he’s off the hook. Get that? Brennan is turning on Comey. And Brennan is predicting that a review by the Inspector General will find problems with Comey. How long will it be before Comey is blaming Brennan? But THIS is what EVERY AMERICAN cares about: How long before ALL OF THEM are saying OBAMA MADE ME DO IT?

Treason. For reals.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 There’s plenty of debasement to go around.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker said this week that he and other officials were "quite worried" that former FBI Director James Comey appeared to be blackmailing then President-elect Trump during a 2017 meeting regarding salacious allegations found in the Steele dossier.

On the latest episode of the Yahoo News podcast "Skullduggery" published Tuesday, Baker said he and others were so concerned about Comey briefing Trump on January 6, 2017 on Russia’s interference in the election as well as the controversial dossier that "analogies" were made to J. Edgar Hoover, the former FBI director who famously abused his power to blackmail individuals.

"We were quite worried about the Hoover analogies, and we were determined not to have such a disaster happen on our watch,” Baker said, hoping to convey to the incoming president that they did not want to continue the "legacy" of Hoover’s blackmailing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 There’s plenty of debasement to go around.

OK, I know you guys think I am crazy, and maybe you are right. But I’m telling you, UTube has changed. I pointed this out a few weeks ago, and WOW I really think the war against conservatives on UTube is OVER. Maybe not on Facebook, or Twitter, but UTube has come around to the American side, and it happened only recently.

Now, it shows me the Dan Bongino show (really fun), a great show on American Perspectives that sounds exactly like the start of the Kevin Stacy President show (remember that?) and Dennis Prager, and the Black Conservative Patriot, along with Victor Davis Hanson. Unbelievable. It happened all at once, about the time that General Barr was confirmed. UTube is American again! Yay!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 There’s plenty of debasement to go around.

Well, I watched Fox News on UTube for a long time, and it usually recommended CNN and MSNBC with some phony bait to make me think there was something interesting (there wasn’t). I accepted that the same way I accept Google’s obvious leftist slant and Twitters ongoing leftist phony rage parade.

Then WHAM, in ONE DAY, it all changed. No more phony pony recommendations, and a BUNCH of shows that are interesting. Maybe a little under=produced, maybe occasionally wandering a little into speculation, but for the most part, WOW, really good. If you haven’t listened to Victor Davis Hanson or Dennis Prager, you really should. Even Dan Bongino is pretty entertaining, and back up his theories with a LOT of facts.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Who’s wearing what mask at the conspiracy ball?

"Ohh looks like we got all three resident nutters here to dance caper and jape for our amusement."

Three?

Given that those "three" lunatics always show up together and have done so on two forums – for years – it’s a more logical assumption that we’re still only looking at that one guy so fond of building one-man armies to sock puppet his arguments.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Who’s wearing what mask at the conspiracy ball

"I mean, it was already blatantly obvious that his accusations of sockpuppetry were always baseless projection."

Well, it isn’t impossible our "three resident nutters" are in fact three people – who all are in constant contact so they can back one another up when one of them gets called a tad too harshly on the blatantly obvious bullshit they keep using to leverage their pet hate-boner into the debate…

…but I doubt that’s the case, frankly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Non-Internet precedent

This kind of lawsuit isn’t a section 230-specific issue.

I recall an incident many moons ago where some idiot decided, while mowing his lawn, to trim his bushes with the mower, and subsequently chopping off his fingers. His lawsuit included everyone involved in the lawn mower, including the makers of the bolts that held the engine to the chassis.

Allowing them to sue the software maker seems to be just as idiotic.

The fact that we (as in, our justice system) allows these kinds of idiot suits to go forward only encourages people to pursue them.

ECA (profile) says:

Wonder what a president would create??

Hmmm…
Any consumer could file a lawsuit based on Any concept or thought that could be a negitive in ?? countries??

Any corp could Sue 1 corp or another based on Laws of 1 country, over 99% of the others??

Q: how many Laws of the land are we going to TRY to pass into the net? Most of the net Tries to live by common laws of the lands. While trying to interpret them all.

I wonder who is forgetting that Mankind is the Strangest creature ever created. He will do/say What ever he can conceive or fantasize. What ever the propaganda says, there are people, and places that would Scare many Domesticated USA people to death(there isnt much at being 1/2 way dead).

I love the idea of trying to create laws that can hold, everyone, not even related to the incident, Liable to an incident they THINK could/would/might hurt them..
But, then you have to ask, HOW it hurt them, and how to prove it, or make laws that go beyond or that demand Everything/everyone, be responsible for 1 idiot.

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