Just Because You Make Money, It Doesn't Mean You Lose Section 230 Safe Harbors

from the well,-that's-good dept

When talking about the importance of Section 230 safe harbors, one thing I've seen multiple people declare is that if a site earns money directly from content on a site, such safe harbors no longer apply. However, a recent court ruling points out this is simply not true. The case involved New Jersey's attorney general suing an online ticket reseller because some of the site's users had offered concert tickets for a Bruce Springsteen show before they were even available. But rather than going after the folks who actually posted/sold the tickets, the focus was on the site, TicketNetwork, which is operated by CheapTickes and branded by Orbitz. One of the arguments used against the site, was that since it made money on every transaction, safe harbors like Section 230 do not apply. Thankfully, the court rejected that:
The fact that the defendants charge "service" or "administrative" fees is irrelevant to the CDA analysis. Plaintiffs seek to enjoin defendants from "advertising and selling concert tickets to consumers without actually having those tickets in their possession or control." This conduct, however, conduct [sic] fits squarely within the CDA's purview.
Nice to see a court get things like this right. As Eric Goldman notes above, it's especially surprising, because courts rarely side against the government in so-called "consumer protection"-type lawsuits, such as this one.

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  • icon
    JustMe (profile), 14 Sep 2010 @ 6:32am

    Awesome to see a win for the good guys

    Great news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2010 @ 8:10am

    Limewire, even though it did benefit from ad revenue to some extent, would not be in the trouble it is in had it not participated in helping some people learn how to download specific infringing content.

    The moral, I guess, is that 230 is a potent defense...as long as a site stays within its limits and even if the site makes $$$.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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