Judges Quickly Tossing Out Bogus Internet Liability Cases
from the good-news dept
In the past, we've covered why section 230 of the Communications Decency Act makes a lot of sense (despite plenty of other flaws in that law). What it says is that a service provider isn't liable for the actions its users take within the service. This makes fundamental sense (it's almost too bad there even needs to be a law pointing it out), because what it's saying is that you don't blame whoever made the tool, you blame whoever used it. You don't blame the telephone company if someone uses the telephone to commit a crime, and therefore you don't blame the ISP or website when a user does something illegal as well. Over the years, the courts have had various decisions (some good, some bad) concerning section 230, but it's beginning to get to the point where judges seem comfortable quickly dismissing bogus claims against service providers. Eric Goldman points to a recent case where a user of MSN's forums got upset about some messages on the forums and rather than going after those who made the statements, sued Microsoft. Microsoft filed a motion to dismiss per section 230 and, voila, case dismissed. Hopefully, this will start to become common practice so that the courts aren't littered with these types of bogus cases much longer.