HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! Looking for something to read instead? Check out our new Working Futures anthology »
HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! Looking for something to read instead? Check out our new Working Futures anthology »

In Which We Warn The Wisconsin Supreme Court Not To Destroy Section 230

from the not-just-fosta dept

One of the ideas that we keep trying to drive home is that the Internet works only because Section 230 has allowed it to work. Mess with Section 230, and you mess with the Internet. FOSTA messed with it statutorily, but it isn't just Congress that can undermine all the speech and services that depend on Section 230's protection for the platforms that enable them. Courts can mess with it too.

While it's bad enough when courts get questions of whether Section 230 applies wrong at the trial court level, the higher the court, the more potentially destructive the decision if the court decides to curtail its protection. On the other hand, the higher the court, the more durable Section 230's protective language becomes when the decision gets it right. This post is about one of those cases where the future utility of Section 230 hangs in the balance, and where we hope that the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the highest court in the state, gets it right and finds it applies to the platform being sued -- and therefore all other platforms that depend on its protection.

We've written before about this case, Daniel v. Armslist. As with a lot of the litigation challenging Section 230 it was one of those "bad facts make bad law" sorts of cases. In this case an estranged husband, against whom there was a restraining order, bought a gun from an unlicensed seller who had advertised through the Armslist site. Notably it does not appear that the sale was necessarily illegal – in Wisconsin unlicensed dealers apparently do not have to run background checks – nor was the sale fully transacted on the site (the actual purchase was made in a McDonalds parking lot). Of course, even if the sale had been illegal, or fully brokered via the site, Section 230 should still have insulated the platform, but here the Section 230 inquiry should be much more straight forward: the lawsuit alleging that Armslist negligently designed a site that facilitated a third party's speech – in this case, the speech offering the gun for sale – should have been barred by Section 230.

The trial court actually had gotten this question right and dismissed the case. Unfortunately a state appeals court in Wisconsin opted to ignore twenty-plus years of jurisprudence, as well as the statute's pre-emption provision, which would have directed such a finding, and reversed the trial court's original decision. Armslist then sought review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and we filed an amicus brief supporting their petition. One of the main points we made in the brief was how much stood to be affected if the decision was not overturned and Section 230's applicability in Wisconsin was now narrowed in ways Congress hadn't intended. After all, it isn't just Armslist in the crosshairs; it is all platforms everywhere, and all the speech and services they enable, in Wisconsin and beyond, that are threatened if platforms can no longer depend on Section 230's critical protection applying to them as it once had.

Fortunately the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and this week we filed yet another amicus brief in support of Armslist on the merits. It is similar to the previous brief, with the added example of how much the Copia Institute itself, and Techdirt in particular, depends on Section 230 remaining robust and effective. It relies on it as a user of other services -- for instance, to have its posts shared through social media -- and as a platform itself. There could not be a comments section on Techdirt -- or all the vibrant and insightful discussion found there -- without Section 230 protecting the site from liability for what commenters say.

It would be easy for the tragedy underpinning this case to cause the court to fixate on Armslist and the type of user content it intermediates. But Internet platforms come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, offering all sorts of services, and enabling all sorts of speech on all sorts of topics. And all of them will be affected by how the court resolves this particular case before it. So we hope our brief helps remind the Wisconsin justices of just how much is at stake.

Filed Under: cda 230, free speech, gun sales, intermediary liability, section 230, wisconsin
Companies: armslist


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Shufflepants, 18 Jan 2019 @ 1:50pm

    And here I am, still trying to fathom why Section 230 was ever even needed in the first place. Like, I thought it was decided ages ago in common sense by most societies that you punish people for the crimes they commit rather than the makers of the tools used by criminals.

    Nobody gets in their head to try to punish a Car dealer or manufacturer because a bank robber used a car to get away, or the people who made or sold them their balaclava, or even the gun dealer or manufacturer of the gun used to threaten or kill people.

    And though people try all the time, courts really solidly shut down defamation suits brought against newspapers and the like for just reporting on what some other 3rd party said.

    But bring in the word 'computer' or 'internet' and everyone becomes idiots who want to go back to the days of old of punishing sons for the sins of their fathers or some shit.

    But of course, seeing all of this idiocy now, I'm of course glad and really amazed that we even got Section 230. Even if we hadn't had it, I imagine the initial reaction of some courts would have been to not go punishing websites for the actions of their users, but I can only imagine how much that idea would have been eroded by now without it considering how much it seems to have been eroded when it's explicitly codified in the law.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      And here I am, still trying to fathom why Section 230 was ever even needed in the first place. Like, I thought it was decided ages ago in common sense by most societies that you punish people for the crimes they commit rather than the makers of the tools used by criminals.

      For many years this was my argument as well. In a just society, we would not need a Section 230 for the proper placement of liability. However, the entire reason why we have 230 in the first place is because of two reasons. First, courts get confused about the proper placement of liability (see: Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy, which was the case that directly resulted in CDA 230 becoming a thing) and second, because without CDA 230's clear immunity, even in such bogus cases, the cost for the internet platforms would be much higher. One of the nice things about CDA 230 is it gets bogus cases dismissed quickly.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:31pm

        Re: Re:

        I think the worry about CDA 230 going away might be overblown.

        I happen to believe that websites should bear far more responsibility for what users post than they do now. I think it's especially true for sites like Facebook and Twitter that use algorithms to determine what users see.

        I say get rid of it for 5-10 years. If it's a huge disaster we can always bring it back.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Please have a thorough-readthrough of the articles within this tag, and perhaps some outside of TechDirt reading on CDA 230 and the effect it has

          https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=cda+230

          Then, please feel free to explain why removing it would not lead to problems.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I happen to believe that websites should bear far more responsibility for what users post than they do now.

          Why, when they are platforms and not publishers. As history has shown when you have corporate gatekeepers only a fraction of a percent oh human creativity ever gets published. Do you expect a landlord to moderate all conversations on their premises?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is an incredibly naive viewpoint.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: not worth it

          “We can always bring it back”

          Whe has anything like this ever been that simple?
          This is also also a power issue mind you if this goes alway we will not get this back in our lifetimes. Too many people today in this political climate disagree on things to take risk on that something they disagree with or that just want to control exist now and they will even destroy themselves before they let the things that let the internet come to be happen again even if it’s hurting not just the person they don’t like but themselves.

          It sounds tired I know but just look outside and see if what I said is not true and if that’s worth the risk.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 3:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          How abou no? Does that work for you?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 8:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          >I happen to believe that websites should bear far more responsibility for what users post than they do now.

          You go foregather with that dude who thinks websites shouldn't be allowed to censor anhything because too much political-discourse-masquerading-as-hate-speech gets banned for being hate-speech-masquerading-as-political-discourse.

          When you all have things worked out, and an algorithm to implement it ... report back.

          Until then, "what you believe" is not an argument that should persuade anyone.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 10:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I say get rid of copyright law for 5-10 years.

          Or, if that's too much for you, instead of having copyright last for life plus 70 years we can always bring it down to life plus 50 years for the next decade or so.

          If it's a huge disaster we can always bring it back.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The real damage from 230 is caused by search engines, which archive and spread defamation into every corner of the target's life. These people are in the minority so they are viewed as acceptable collateral damage. Even revenge-porn targets had this problem, to the point where they moved to make revenge porn a federal crime.

          Supporters of 230 who say that there is no collateral damage are being disingenuous, since it's very obvious that there is, and in fact 230 would not be necessary without it. They are just saying that big internet is more important than the reputations of the "few" people who are harmed by 230.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 10:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's because, as always, you provide zero evidence for your lies.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 10:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's hard to con people when they can find your past history of cons isn't it.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 10:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Except any "history" cannot be trusted since those who publish the "history" are immune under 230.

              The female victims of revenge porn were not "conning" anyone when they sued the sites that promoted it.

              Defending 230 is one thing, but pretending it doesn't harm anyone is simply not accurate. It does. That's why so many want it abolished, and why other countries have no equivalent for it. We don't even apply 230 to offline speech.

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 11:58am

                any "history" cannot be trusted since those who publish the "history" are immune under 230

                A website that knowingly publishes defamatory content is absolutely liable for what it publishes. Therein lies the disconnect between your worldview and reality: Search engines don’t publish that content.

                The female victims of revenge porn were not "conning" anyone when they sued the sites that promoted it.

                The phrasing of this sentence makes me assume you are referring to the sites that knowingly published revenge porn, and that’s entirely within the scope of 230 to allow because those sites, and not Google, would be the publishers.

                Defending 230 is one thing, but pretending it doesn't harm anyone is simply not accurate.

                It is when you cannot cite, in concrete language and with evidence-backed details, the so-called “harm” done to people because of 230.

                We don't even apply 230 to offline speech.

                We don’t have offline search engines for offline speech, either, but I don’t see you raising that obvious point.

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

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 3:54pm

                  Re:

                  Except when the website hitdes in another country, behind all kinds of lawyers of hosts, cannot be traced, and has a judgment-proof owner, that on't work. Sites like that can be hired under the table by wealthy people who want to keep their hands clean,

                  The revenge porn site that lost 230 protection did so because someone from the site was uploading. Other sites were ruled immune, as were many tube sites. 230 directly inflicted that harm.

                  Take the film "unlawful entry" only this time Ray Liotta's cop character simply defames the husband online to get the wife to split up, and infiltrates her by "helping" her to find what he put there himself.

                  It's one thing to say this type of harm is acceptable under Section 230, quite another to deny the harm in the first place. The guy who had 1,000+ men sent to his door for sex by an ex-lover was certainly harmed by 230. He's suing Grindr. Of course, many big tech companies know who not to allow to be defamed, lest the courts become even more sympathetic.

                  Regardless, your side is losing this battle, just like the pro-piracy movement is losing on copyright. This site is little more than a pathetic temper tantrum with articles written by someone who can't even avoid slanted language (the hallmark of amateur writing).

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 4:47pm

                    Re: Re:

                    I thought the whole point of piracy was because those responsible weren't wealthy? Your arguments keep making absolutely no sense at all.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:32pm

                    Re: Re:

                    No matter how many time you scream at those kids they just won’t get off your lawn will they?

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

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:58pm

                    Re: Re:

                    when the website hitdes in another country, behind all kinds of lawyers of hosts, cannot be traced, and has a judgment-proof owner, that on't work.

                    This is the point where you go to hosting providers and domain registrars with a court ruling and ask them to take down/de-register the URL for the website hosting that defamatory ruling. If that does not work, you still have the court ruling and a megaphone called “social media” through which you can speak.

                    The revenge porn site that lost 230 protection did so because someone from the site was uploading. Other sites were ruled immune, as were many tube sites. 230 directly inflicted that harm.

                    Those other sites did not openly solicit/create/help users upload and distribute revenge porn. And while I’m here, I’m gonna explain to you exactly how Section 230 works by using a simple example: the shithole of the Internet that is 4chan.

                    4chan has a board for posting images of sexy women. Some anonymous schmuck could theoretically post revenge porn — e.g., an image of an ex-girlfriend that they did not have permission to post — on that board. Without Section 230, 4chan moderators/administrators would have to hold back that post to determine (among other things) whether the poster had permission to post it. They would also have to hold back every other post on that specific board and the rest of the site for the same reason. The justification for that holdback would be “we don’t want to be sued if we fuck this up”. But that holdback would ruin the usability of the site for its userbase, which would make said userbase flee the site (potentially for more “open” sites that have fewer “we don’t want to get sued” worries).

                    Now apply what I said about 4chan to basically any other website or online service that allows third-party submissions (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Mastodon instances, MySpace, blogs such as this one). Imagine how quick that one change would crush those sites and services. And we need not stop at those services, either — email is still alive and kicking, and I bet someone would love to force Google into doing to Gmail what was, in this hypothetical example, done to 4chan.

                    230 protects services such as Twitter and Gmail and comment systems such as Disqus from being held legally liable for any content which its owners/administrators did not directly create/publish and did not directly help others to do so. When someone uses a tool to do something bad, you punish the person who did the bad thing, not the people who sold that “bad guy” the tool or the people who made the tool.

                    It's one thing to say this type of harm is acceptable under Section 230, quite another to deny the harm in the first place.

                    No one denies the so-called “harm” exists or that it is “acceptable”, but your argument seems to go like this: “A platforms that allows third-party submissions is used to defame someone. 230 generally protects platforms from liability for those submissions. Therefore, 230 is used to protect defamatory content.” If you cannot spot the fallacy in that argument, you have stepped into a small puddle and gotten in way over your head.

                    The guy who had 1,000+ men sent to his door for sex by an ex-lover was certainly harmed by 230.

                    No, he was harmed by the ex-lover who sent those men.

                    He's suing Grindr.

                    And unless he can prove someone at Grindr knowingly participated in that awful stunt in any way, that lawsuit will go nowhere fast.

                    This site is little more than a pathetic temper tantrum

                    Says a lot that you keep coming back here, then. If it is so unimportant and worthless and pathetic, what keeps you from ignoring it and giving it more traffic that it can point to and say “look, people still visit us”?

                    slanted language (the hallmark of amateur writing)

                    …says the anonymous coward who calls this site a “pathetic temper tantrum”, conflates defamation with the distribution of child porn and revenge porn in a blatant attempt to inflame emotions, and refuses to provide citations for statements of fact that would bolster any arguments based on said facts.

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

                • identicon
                  Dawn, 20 Jan 2019 @ 9:17pm

                  Re:

                  So Buzzfeed should be punished as well as main stream media, amirite

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 6:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                First threatening the president now revenge porn. Jhonny you simply must come out with something better than a ridiculous strawman.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 10:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                “We don't even apply 230 to offline speech.” That is correct, since the legislation that 230 is contained is a law about the internet.

                Idiot

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think you're wrong.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:33pm

      Re:

      Nobody gets in their head to try to punish a Car dealer or manufacturer because a bank robber used a car to get away, or the people who made or sold them their balaclava, or even the gun dealer or manufacturer of the gun used to threaten or kill people.

      Actually, there were quite a few suits that sought to misplace liability for firearms-related crime to the dealers and to the manufacturers, because they were easy to find, had substantial assets, and could be easily harassed. This ultimately led to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which establishes a similar principle as CDA 230, but focused specifically on firearms: that the liability rests with the person(s) who acted unlawfully.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      And here I am, still trying to fathom why Section 230 was ever even needed in the first place.

      In simple terms, without it, if a site moderates comments and user uploads, they will be accused of approving anything that they do not take down. That is any sigh of moderation will be treated as knowledge and approval of everything hosted on the site.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 3:09pm

      Re:

      Sir you really want to know the key to stopping false defamation?
      A spine and actually standing your ground in innocence. Something come up from ye olden days of 1970 whatever and people are trying to destroy you now for it? You fight and keep going. No court is going to give you innocence in the public opinion one. Just money.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 1:52pm

    There could not be a comments section on Techdirt -- or all the vibrant and insightful discussion found there -- without Section 230 protecting the site from liability for what commenters say.

    (As much as I hate to do this, considering how much everyone else here hates this kind of bait…)

    I wonder what the troll brigade thinks about that particular point.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:08pm

      Re:

      I wonder what the troll brigade thinks about that particular point.

      He was, therefore, silent at present; but resolved to take the first opportunity of returning the jest by abuse.
      - The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 5:34pm

      Re:

      With notice-and-takedown, or moderated comments, there could be. Other countries have them without Section 230.

      Section 230 will always harm individuals (collateral damage) for the "greater goo" of a weaponized internet.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 5:53pm

        Re: Re:

        notice-and-takedown

        The DMCA is already notice-and-takedown.

        moderated comments

        Section 230 is what makes possible moderation without fear of liability.

        Other countries have them without Section 230.

        So what?

        Section 230 will always harm individuals

        Please explain the nature of this so-called “harm” and how Section 230 directly causes that “harm” to occur. Make sure to provide the necessary citations required for your argument to hold water.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 7:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          People can't sue search engines for loss of reputation, which causes search engines to be weaponized by those who wish to defame. The collateral damage is the individual, as with revenge porn. Supportrs of Section 230 view this collateral damage as necessary. The EU, with the RTBF, does not agree with us.

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

          • icon
            John Roddy (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 7:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            People can't sue search engines for loss of reputation, which causes search engines to be weaponized by those who wish to defame.

            Why is the search engine responsible for somebody else weaponizing it? And how do you prove that it was weaponized by that specific person in the first place? And what does Section 230 do to stop a lawsuit against the party actually responsible?

            The collateral damage is the individual, as with revenge porn.

            And why is the platform responsible for the shitty things other people do? Notice how most of the large "revenge porn" platforms ended up getting taken offline without even having to address the Section 230 protection. It's not even relevant.

            Supportrs of Section 230 view this collateral damage as necessary.

            No "supporter" has ever referred to that kind of hypothetical as "collateral damage" because it doesn't actually exist. So it's not even a Section 230 issue in the first place.

            The EU, with the RTBF, does not agree with us.

            You mean the law that was almost immediately used by bad actors to force "inconvenient" information offline? I don't think that was the EU's intention. They enacted a bad law, and they know it.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 8:14pm

            People can't sue search engines for loss of reputation

            Good. The search engine didn’t publish the reputation-harming material; all it did was scrape the site that did the publishing. If I defamed someone on Techdirt and Google put my defamatory comment near the top of searches for that someone because enough Google users clicked on the link, for what reason should Google face a lawsuit over defamatory material it neither wrote nor published?

            which causes search engines to be weaponized by those who wish to defame

            The defamed then have a solution: They can sue the defamers and ask — not demand, ask — the search engines to do something about links to defamatory content being near the top of generic search results for the defamed.

            Support[e]rs of Section 230 view this collateral damage as necessary.

            Again, the whole reason Section 230 exists is to place proper legal liability upon the directly responsible party rather than a third party that neither wrote, published, or even publicly approved of content such as defamatory statements. 230 is what lets comment sections such as this one stay open; without the legal safe harbors of 230, Techdirt would have to close the comments for fear of being held legally liable if I were to, say, seriously accuse Rep. Steve King of drinking the blood of slaughtered raccoons because he thought it would enhance his “male potency”.

            And incidentally, such “collateral damage” also exists in the realm of “free speech”; we have to put up with the anti-gay Westboro Baptist assholes, after all.

            The EU, with the RTBF, does not agree with us.

            You know, but it’s a funny thing about the so-called “right to be forgotten”: The phrase is worded in such a way that it fails to mention why, and by whom, certain information should be forgotten. The more accurate term for this bullshit — the right of erasure — spells out exactly what advocates for RTBF hope other people will ignore: This so-called “right” is about erasing access to, and thus controlling, specific information in a way that no one will ever be able to find it. The assholes who would make use of the right to erasure would likely appreciate having that control; I, for one, would not.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 9:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sport Jhon boy you already put your own reputation in the toilet.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            We don't agree because your argument is bad.

            Guess what? You don't need to sue search engines when they would most often gladly remove results regarding awful things, and hell, probably stop crawling sites when it is obvious the intent is awful.

            People knowing personal shit about someone else is not the fault of search engines. In a world with or without them, there is still gossip, which is generally maliciously intended regarding things falling in the same sort of bucket as revenge porn, and you can't sue a whole town for gossip either. What you do is to sue the bastard starting or promoting the lies or malicious exposure of private things. Search engines are not the damn problem.

            I, in no way, intend to defend "google" or "big internet" or "big tech" or giant zaibatsu anything. I literally hate most of them. This is about everyone's freedom to post to the net, which is harmed when you do away with protections like 230.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:06pm

    Pedantic

    Is there a beginning to the headline of the article that is missing? Maybe...We've written an article...In Which We Warn The Wisconsin Supreme Court Not To Destroy Section 230, or something like that? Sorry to be pedantic but it derailed my attention.

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

    • identicon
      Shufflepants, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Pedantic

      No, there's nothing missing per se. It's just a bit of an old-timey or poetic sentence construction. Some times you see the same thing starting with "Wherein" instead of "In which".

      But yes, the article is implicitly referring to itself in its title.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:18pm

      Re: Pedantic

      The headline follows a format that has been used for quite some time, usually for chapter titles. The format describes, in brief, an event within the chapter or article.

      Example:
      "The Chapter in which James discovers a Troubling Truth"
      Becomes
      "In which James discovers a Troubling Truth"

      In this case, the headline is effectively: "[The Chapter Of Our Lives] In Which We Warn The Wisconsin Supreme Court Not To Destroy Section 230"

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 18 Jan 2019 @ 2:19pm

      Re: Pedantic

      It's a literary thing which uses relative adverbs/clauses or whatnot.. I can't really remember much about it since it's several decades ago I had the English class where my teacher explained it.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 3:21pm

      Re: Pedantic

      In Which a Trope is Described (warning: tvtropes link)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 4:32pm

    Every now and then, some snowflake is collateral damage from Section 230 and has to be reprimanded by a court that reminds them that big internet's existence is more important than their reputation.

    Remember those silly "revenge porn" whiners?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 4:33pm

    Section 230 wiped out distributor liability, which still applies to offline communications.

    That is a large source of confusion. The internet really is different. Don't sue the search engine who spreads the lies, sue the anonymous, judgment-proof person on Romania who posted it, while you're suing the other twenty salami-slicers, all within a year, otherwise it's "forever."

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 5:58pm

      Re:

      Don't sue the search engine who spreads the lies, sue the anonymous, judgment-proof person on Romania who posted it

      “Don’t sue the gun manufacturer or the gun shop, sue the person who shot up a school with the gun.”

      “Don’t sue the car manufacturer or the car dealer, sue the person who rammed a crowd of people with the car.”

      “Don’t sue the knife manufacturer or the kitchenware store, sue the person who stabbed their best friend with the knife.”

      You made a good point, even if it isn’t the one you wanted to make: You sue the person who used a tool for a malicious act, not the people who made/sold the tool.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:30am

        Re: Re:

        Distributor liability is precedent almost everywhere, even here, with 230 the exception and not the rule. Those who support 230 are placing internet companies above the reutations of those who are harmed by search engines, etc.

        Except the search engine is the one causing most of the damage. Product-liability is well-established. There is a lawsuit against Grindr where a man was harassed over 1,000 times by an ex-lover while Grindr did nothing (the man is an example of 230's collateral damage). Revenge porn sites were hiding behind 230 as well even as women were being destroyed.

        Section 230 would not exist without the collateral damage it immunizes third-party sites from.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re:

        So what does a doctor in the US do if someone in Russsia threatens to ruin their reputation if they don't pay blackmail? Sue the original poster even if they can't find them?

        Search engines cause 99 percent of the damage in most cases of online defamation. The "polluter pays" concept would leave them liable, as would distributor liability. The Supreme Court has NOT weighed in on this issue, btw.

        In the case of revenge porn, women were told that 230 made it impossible for them to sue the websites which hosted the defamation (or privacy invasion), nor the search engines which linked to it.

        You can support 230 all you want but in doing so you're accepting the collateral damage it causes certain individuals. These individuals will always file lawsuits which attempt to take out 230, which is why we see them at rather steady intervals.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:04pm

          You can support 230 all you want but in doing so you're accepting the collateral damage it causes certain individuals.

          And you have yet to prove that Section 230 causes direct harm that cannot be addressed in other ways (e.g., calling the Feds on the Russian; suing the people who wrote/published the defamatory content; suing/levelling criminal charges against the people who posted revenge porn). You also have yet to directly contradict the (correct) point of 230 allowing any website or web-based service that allows third-party submissions — which can mean anything from a blog with a comments section to a social interaction network to Discord- and Slack-style chatrooms — to even have that option. All you are doing is attempting to make us feel bad about defamation and revenge porn so we will drop our support for 230; that tactic will not work on a lot of people who regularly post here, and it sure as shit won’t work on me.

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

        • icon
          Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 Jan 2019 @ 7:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So what does a doctor in the US do if someone in Russsia threatens to ruin their reputation if they don't pay blackmail? Sue the original poster even if they can't find them?

          How would the blackmailer go about this? Someone tried posting lies about me on the internet to ruin my reputation. They failed because I posted a rebuttal everywhere they left those comments and warned the websites hosting them that they'd been spammed. Result: all but one of the false accusations have been removed.

          *Search engines cause 99 percent of the damage in most cases of online defamation. The "polluter pays" concept would leave them liable, as would distributor liability. The Supreme Court has NOT weighed in on this issue, btw.**

          Search engines are not the cause, the person posting defamatory content is. Start there. Defamatory content doesn't cause harm unless people believe it. Nobody believed the lies about me because I don't usually behave in the way described and the defamer had no evidence of my alleged misconduct.

          *In the case of revenge porn, women were told that 230 made it impossible for them to sue the websites which hosted the defamation (or privacy invasion), nor the search engines which linked to it.

          That's because the websites and search engines aren't responsible for the content, the uploader is. Woman here, that emotive crap won't work on me.

          You can support 230 all you want but in doing so you're accepting the collateral damage it causes certain individuals. These individuals will always file lawsuits which attempt to take out 230, which is why we see them at rather steady intervals.

          And they will fail every time unless they sue the person responsible for the content, i.e. the uploader.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 5:22pm

    Substitute "chgild porn" for 'defamation" and Section 230's fatal flaws become clear.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 6:00pm

      Re:

      And if “child porn” were equal to “defamation” in any way, you would have had a point. As it is, all you have is a fallacious argument that means nothing.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        The point is that it's possible to police the internet, whther it's defamation, child porn, or copyright infringement.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Defamation, copyright infringement, and distribution of child pornography are different things. And policing the Internet does not require placing legal liability on the people who make/own/distribute the tools we use on the Internet if they did not participate in/encourage the commission of a crime carried out by a third party.

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

    • icon
      John Roddy (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 7:53pm

      Re:

      If the "fatal flaws" with the law only become clear when you change the wording to say something completely different that has no relation to the original wording at all, perhaps the alleged flaws aren't quite as fatal as you're suggesting.

      But even then, child porn is a federal criminal offense, which is specifically exempted from Section 230 immunity. So no, if child porn gets involved, that blanket immunity almost immediately vaporizes.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:26am

        Re: Re:

        Revenge porn was not a federal crime and many women suffered because of 230.

        If one supports 230 they find it acceptable that some individuals will be harmed by it. Those who argue that eliminating that harm is too expensive can look to child porn and copyright as evidence that the internet can handle policing.

        Entire businesses have been ruined by false reviews from competitors or disgruntled customers who lie, with the reviews not taken down because of 230 immunity. Rather than abolish copyright due to the DMCA and its difficulty, abolishing defamation law so that those who are targeted can respond in kind would be even better.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 11:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          many women suffered because of 230

          Exact numbers and exact descriptions of what kind of “harm” they suffered, please.

          If one supports 230 they find it acceptable that some individuals will be harmed by it.

          Please spell out — in detailed, concrete language and with proper citations — how 230 harms people. Avoid using “harm” as a noun (it is vague enough to mean whatever you want it to mean). Also avoid equivocating 230 to the distribution of child porn; everyone knows it’s a bullshit argument, including you.

          Those who argue that eliminating that harm is too expensive can look to child porn and copyright as evidence that the internet can handle policing.

          The Internet can handle policing, but what makes that policing “work” is that it targets the people who did the deed. Someone could use Discord to trade e-books with their friends; so long as Discord employees had no direct knowledge of that trading, had no hand in directly facilitating the trading, and provided all the pertinent information about the trading to the proper authorities before banning that user/shutting down their server, I see no reason for Discord employees to have legal liability for that user’s actions foisted upon them. I would love to see you explain your reasoning for your apparent belief that they should, though.

          Entire businesses have been ruined by false reviews from competitors or disgruntled customers who lie, with the reviews not taken down because of 230 immunity.

          A platform’s owners/operators cannot know, unless it is informed of such, that a review is a “lie”. Rotten Tomatoes cannot know that a brigading meant to drive down the viewer score of a specific film is a brigading — or that the people doing the brigading are offering false reviews — unless it learns that fact from either its own investigation of the score or outside sources who have evidence of the brigading.

          abolishing defamation law so that those who are targeted can respond in kind would be even better

          Of all the arguments you have made, this one is — and I do not apologize for this language — the absolutely stupidest fucking pile of stank-ass dogshit you have ever heaped upon this forum. Defamed people can already respond to defamation by suing the people who wrote the defamatory bullshit and working with media outlets to set the record straight. Allowing them to defame others without consequence out of petty revenge is an idea so ridiculous and so ignorant that I can legitimately believe you are not trolling when you suggest it.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:19pm

            There's shooting your own foot, and then there's blowing it off

            Of all the arguments you have made, this one is — and I do not apologize for this language — the absolutely stupidest fucking pile of stank-ass dogshit you have ever heaped upon this forum.

            Not only that, but it also shoots their own already pathetic argument in the back by making it clear that they have no problem with defamation so long as they're the one doing it. Claiming that defamation is bad, and then turning around and saying that the laws against it should be removed so that more defamation can take place makes clear that the objection is not the defamation received, so much as the fact that they don't get to engage in the practice themselves without consequence.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You got5 quite a mouth for a weak little internet coward. No wonder this site is so important to you.

            All that ad-hominem stuff also shows you don't debate very well.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          “If one supports section 230 they find it acceptable that some individuals will be harmed by it”

          Local man discovers outside world. Makes everything out straw in fear.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 9:21pm

      Getting a little desperate are we?

      I can't help but find it funny that conflating copyright infringement for child porn is apparently the new talking point for certain individuals on TD the past day or so, as though such a grossly dishonest conflation and appeal to emotion is going to trick anyone.

      I'd say you've sunk to new lows, but hell, we both know you've been wallowing in that pit for ages now. That said, thanks for the laugh.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:23am

        Re: Getting a little desperate are we?

        The point is that stopping child porn didn't destroy the internet. Stopping copyright infringement or defamation would not destroy it either.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 11:24am

          How's it go? 'One of these things is not like the other...'

          Besides the massive differences between the three?

          Just as a single example of the differences, one of them has the legality of a specific instance of content almost entirely context based, which you can't filter for just yet.
          Another has several other defenses like ' is it true' and/or the context of how it was said.
          And the third is just flat out illegal, no context, no legal defenses.

          I'll let you figure out which is which.

          Your comparison/idea is just as ridiculous as someone arguing that because we managed to safely land on the moon with a little effort it'll be possible to land on the sun, because hey, both involve landing on planetary bodies so obviously what worked for one will work for the other.

          Once again, thanks for the laugh.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:54pm

          Re: Re: Getting a little desperate are we?

          Are you under the strange and mistaken belief that child porn has somehow ceased to be a thing?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2019 @ 9:39pm

      Re:

      Substitute your impotence as a reason to complain and your bullshit becomes clear.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 10:23pm

      Re:

      Substitute "chgild porn" for 'defamation" and Section 230's fatal flaws become clear.

      Child porn is criminal. Section 230 does not apply to federal criminal violations, only civil ones. So, no, I'm not sure how this makes any "fatal flaws" clear. It does suggest some serious confusion and misunderstanding of the law on your part, though.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:21am

        Re: Re:

        The analogy had more to do with how ISPs can stop something if there is an impetus to do so. Section 230 has never even been tested by the Supreme Court (the CDA was tested, not 230). Distributor liability applies offline (like with bookstores), so 230 goes against that, as well as against the laws in many other countries that do not have it.

        The immunity is designed to protect internet companies at the expense of those harmed by third-party spreading of lies (such as by search engines). If this collateral damage did not exist there would be no need for the immunity in the first place.

        Those who support 230 are saying that the collateral damage it causes is acceptable in a way that would NOT be acceptable with copyright violations or child porn, which ISPs have to stop, and which they do without going out of business.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 11:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The immunity is designed to protect internet companies at the expense of those harmed by third-party spreading of lies (such as by search engines).

          For what reason should Google be sued if someone not associated with Google writes defamatory content on a non-Google website and Google’s search engine happens to scrape that site, provide a link to the site, and raise the link’s prominence in search results if enough people search for/click on that link?

          Section 230 is designed to put legal liability where it belongs in this situation: not on the creators/owners/maintainers of a tool people used to find defamatory content, but on the people who wrote/published that content. If you have an argument for changing that liability other than the weaksauce arguments of “but child porn” (which is a bullshit argument to begin with) and “but distributor liability” (which would be a stretch to apply to Google if someone at Google did not actually distribute/publish the content), you have yet to show it.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's called distributor liability for spreading lies. Well-established law everywhere but the American internet.

            You do know what distributor liability for defamation is, right?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 1:57pm

              You do know what distributor liability for defamation is, right?

              I do. How would it apply to Google, which would have neither published nor wrote defamatory content to which the Google search engine links?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Distributor liability is not blind. If a bookstore is promoting a book _after it has been adjudicated as libelous_, then it counts. It does not magically count just because someone did not like the book, or even if the book is full of intentional lies but no one knows that is the case.

          See, basically, the rest of reality already has a CDA 230, without it having to be spelled out. Apply that same shit to your stupid search engine liability claim.

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 10:04pm

    Comments

    Without 230 we couldn't have comment sections.

    Therefore, anyone posting a comment opposing 230 should immediately stop posting, since they don't believe the comment section should exist.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 11:02pm

      Re: Comments

      Objection! Argument assumes honesty on the part of said commenters not found in reality.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:47am

      Re: Comments

      With notice-and-takedown we could definitely have comment sections.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: Comments

        And then we would have a bullshit system of quashing speech that is directly on par with the DMCA and its bullshit notice-and-takedown system that can quash speech even if someone sends a false notice.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Comments

          As opposed to the system we have now of anyone with an axe to grind being able to weaponize search engines to the point of being able to ruin the reputation of another.

          Obviously you don't value the reputation of individuals if protecting that reputation requires holding an internet company accountable for what is harming that reputation.

          Female revenge porn victims are the poster children for the harm 230 can cause. Supporters of 230 even came out against them being able to sue intermediaries. Positions like this are politically unsustainable.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments

            As often as not it is the person who was offended that weaponises the search engines by engaging the Streisand effect.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments

            anyone with an axe to grind being able to weaponize search engines to the point of being able to ruin the reputation of another

            And? The search engine did not write, publish, or distribute the defamatory content—it just made that content easier to find. People could “weaponize” Twitter, Facebook, Discord, or even email to lead people toward defamatory content; if you cannot prove employess behind those services directly aided/encouraged the spread of such content, for what reason should we foist the liability for how third parties use those services on the services themselves?

            you don't value the reputation of individuals if protecting that reputation requires holding an internet company accountable for what is harming that reputation

            You, uh…you wanna re-think the phrasing of that sentence there, honey? Because it sounds as if you’re agreeing with me about who should be held legally liable for defamation.

            Supporters of 230 even came out against them being able to sue intermediaries.

            If 230 supporters came out against anything, it was against platforms that merely allowed third-party uploads to be held legally liable for the actions of third parties—and even then, that was based on the idea that the platforms did not knowingly have a hand in uploading/publishing/encouraging the sharing of such content. Backpage, for example, got its 230 protections yanked because Backpage employees directly helped craft and publish illegal advertisements.

            Positions like this are politically unsustainable.

            Only if you keep comparing people who want the Internet to work in the future as it does right now with revenge porn creators/distributors and child pornographers, and only then if people are ignorant enough to take your word for what you say instead of doing their own research into the issue.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 3:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments

            Hardly unsustainable. Victims being able to lash out at who-the-fuck-ever is not a right.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 7:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments

            It’s not helping your case to just repeat “weaponised” “revenge porn” “distrubuiter liability” over and over again every time someone slaps down your horseshit. You actually have to respond with a coherent arguement if you want anyone to take ou more seriously that an annoying six year old.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 1:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: Comments

          Purging the libel laws via 230 does not encourage free speech, since the other side of the debate can defame almost at will, while the site looks the other way.

          If someone is being simultaneously defamed from all fifty states, are you saying they should have to sue fifty "original posters?"

          A better solution would be to abolish libel laws and bring back dueling.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments

            If someone is being simultaneously defamed from all fifty states, are you saying they should have to sue fifty "original posters?"

            Yes. Just because Google, Twitter, etc. have deep pockets does not make them legally liable for the actions of others.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:46pm

            Also:

            A better solution would be to abolish libel laws and bring back dueling.

            Between this and the “we should execute copyright infringers” bullshit you peddled a few months back, you seem to have an obsession with killing people who piss you off. Is there something you wanna get off your chest, preferably in the company of the proper authorities during a psychiatric hearing to determine if you are a threat to yourself or others?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 7:09pm

              Re:

              All he can do is fantasise about hurting other because he’s so important. Pretty and petty revenge fantasies are common for an older male who can no longer perform.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 9:32pm

        Re: Re: Comments

        We could have those comment sections. Mostly without your drivel clogging up the place.

        Do you copyright-types simply not think things through? At all? Ever?

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

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 5:26am

    Why does a state court have a say at all?

    I mean, it's a federal law. How does a state court have any jurisdiction to decide if federal law -- supremacy clause and all -- actually applies to people in that state?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 9:49am

    One way to keep Section 230 is to put the burden of proving third-party authorship on the defendant.

    This would rule out anonymous defamation (against which people are defenseless), such as if someone uses a VPN or anonymous remailer and can't be traced, while those who spread the defamation are immune.

    Because 230 harms so many people, those people will keep suing and lobbying to have it eliminated. Eventually, someone rich, powerful, and sympathetic enough will be targeted that the law will just be gutted.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      One way to keep Section 230 is to put the burden of proving third-party authorship on the defendant.

      In other words inflict death by a thousand cuts on third parties.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re:

        More like this would require those who want immunity to be able to actually identify the third-party author.

        It would also remove a lot of defamation from search engines who spread it well beyond the original audience.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          More like this would require those who want immunity to be able to actually identify the third-party author.

          Which would eliminate the anonymity that you like to hide behind. That is too high a price to pay so that the thin skinned can get rid of anything that they dislike.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:18pm

          this would require those who want immunity to be able to actually identify the third-party author

          In the case of, say, Twitter, what if they cannot conclusively identify the author of a defamatory tweet — for what reason should Twitter employees then be held liable for content they neither personally wrote/posted/distributed?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 7:11pm

            Re: Same reason he does anything

            Because Jhon boys dick don’t work no more.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 3:46pm

            Re:

            If seomeone threatened the president, they'd identify the author.

            If they can't identify the author, then delete the tweet and let the author step forward.

            230's on its way out anyway. The more noise this site makes about an issue, the more it is losing, as with copyright. It's actually quite amusing when one realizes this. Masnick is just a whining toddler. Looko at how he writes: alsnated language is the signature of an amateur.

            Where exactly does this site gets its money? Its owner threw out how its business model makes money without offering facts to support that claim. For all we know it could just be a mouthpiece for one or two special interests.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:33pm

              Re: Re:

              I like how your entire argument leverages on the fervent fantasy of destroying a site you yourself claim has no readership. I guess all the whining the RIAA made about piracy really meant that they were losing.

              It's going to be hilarious when the law dings you for a crime you didn't commit because Section 230 didn't protect your Article 13 backside.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:30pm

              Re: Re:

              If [someone] threatened the president, they'd identify the author.

              Threats of violence against politicians are not the same thing as defamatory statements. Quit equivocating things that are not equal in any meaningful way.

              If they can't identify the author, then delete the tweet and let the author step forward.

              Most services do delete posts such as that, or at least hide them until the information can be passed on to the proper authorities, if the posts are not first deleted by their author.

              230's on its way out anyway. The more noise this site makes about an issue, the more it is losing, as with copyright.

              Yes, we’re losing on copyright~. That must be why Congress didn’t pass a new copyright extension — because this site, among others, made a huge deal about how much another extension would further erode the public domain and locking up culture, and no extension passed because Congress wanted to…kinda…

              …you know, it’s just easier to call you an imbecile.

              Masnick is just a whining toddler.

              And you keep coming back to whine about his “whining”, so what does that make you?

              For all we know it could just be a mouthpiece for one or two special interests.

              Prove it.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      One way to keep Section 230 is to put the burden of proving third-party authorship on the defendant.

      I’ll ask again: For what reason should Google have legal liability thrust upon it for content it neither wrote nor published? And to go further: For what reason should Google have to prove it neither wrote nor published that comment if someone else claims they did? (Remember: The burden of proof lies upon the person who made a specific claim [e.g., “Google defamed me by distributing this speech”].)

      if someone uses a VPN or anonymous remailer and can't be traced, while those who spread the defamation are immune

      Quick yes-or-no question: If several hundred thousand people on Twitter spread a link to a website that contains defamatory content, should the defamed party have the right to sue all the people who posted that link — and Twitter, for that matter — even if none of those people (or Twitter) had anything at all to do with writing/publishing the defamatory content?

      230 harms so many people

      Quantify the “harm” done to “so many people”, please. Use factual data, actual numbers, and breakdowns of affected segments of the population rather than vague statements about “harm” and “so many people” that you can twist to mean whatever the hell you want them to mean for the sake of an argument. And be sure to provide citations for your evidence, too — because no one will believe your claims if you make them without the proof to back them up.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:32pm

        Re: Re:

        Female victims of revenge porn were harmed by Section 230 because they were unable to sue the revenge-porn sites who hosted the content, nor the search engines which linked to it.

        If you don't recognize that as harm there's no point in continuing. The law immunizes what would otherwise be actionable conduct, and what IS actionable conduct in other countries. To most with average or above IQ, this is not difficult to figure out.

        There are plenty of people who recognize this, which is why so many want 230 abolished.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 3:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, that's bullshit again. If the site was a _revenge porn site_, CDA 230 _offers such a site ZERO protections._ Stop lying. Stop using victims of revenge porn as your personal attack hammer, you unconscionable fuckwit.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 3:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not a lie at all. Section 230 gave birth to revenge porn. It gives rise to fake news, cyberbullying (even online mobs), and a host of other harms. Other countries don't have 230 for a reason, and its days in America are numbered.

            I suppose the temper tantrums on this site over both 230 and copyright law are a sign that their side is losing. Better to just laugh at their futility than become so emotionally invested the way they are.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:35pm

              Re: Say revenge porn one more time. I dare you.

              “I suppose the temper tantrums on this site over both 230 and copyright law are a sign that their side is losing.“

              I 100% agree with you. Though not in the way you think.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, jilted ex-lovers and jerks gave birth to revenge pornography.

              Other countries don't have 230 because they're generally not as litigious or willing to believe what some Russian bot generated half a planet away.

              Fake news by Cambridge Analytica and Russian farms are also what gave us the Trump Presidency, so you might not want to be too aggressive about that.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:24pm

              Section 230 gave birth to revenge porn. It gives rise to fake news, cyberbullying (even online mobs), and a host of other harms.

              [specific, detailed citations needed]

              [and I don’t mean Breitbart]

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 7:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          “There are plenty of people who recognize this, which is why so many want 230 abolished.”

          What a strange way to say you and a couple of legacy entertainment industry nutjobs.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 3:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Those who call others "nutjob" are the ones who trip the psych rerd flags. Those who do it anonoymously are just cowards.

            Websites which allow that type of hate can now be called out on thqat behavior, as can their swponsors. The cowardly twerps who let others do their dirtywork for them need to hide behind monitors because they wouldn't dare talk like that to anyone's face.

            Of course, no one whoo uses that term actually believes it, as they wouldn't dare piss off a real "nutjob."

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 4:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Those who do it anonoymously are just cowards.

              Says an anonymous coward, who hates the Internet, and is encouraging its destruction, which is a hated of free speech.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:37pm

              Re:

              Sorry what was you name again coward?

              Is it Massive Hypocrite?

              Or is it Terrible Liar?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You would have to leave you house for me to talk shit to your face old man. And we all know you’re too scared to do that.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:23pm

              Websites which allow that type of hate can now be called out on [that] behavior, as can their [sponsors].

              And despite that, Twitter still stands.

              The cowardly twerps who let others do their dirtywork for them need to hide behind monitors because they wouldn't dare talk like that to anyone's face.

              …says the anonymous coward.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Re:

        Re:
        >>I’ll ask again: For what reason should Google have legal liability thrust upon it for content it neither wrote nor published?>>

        It's called distributor liability. . Search engines have lost large amounts of money in Australia in these cases. Section 230 was not even written with the word "distributor" in it, but the courts shoehorned it into their rulings. Offline speech offers no such protection against distributor liability.

        Search engines spread defamation to people's personal lives from any corner of the internet, even things posted anonymously for which the original poster cannot be sued.


        <<If several hundred thousand people on Twitter spread a link to a website that contains defamatory content, should the defamed party have the right to sue all the people who posted that link — and Twitter, for that matter — even if none of those people (or Twitter) had anything at all to do with writing/publishing the defamatory content?>>>

        It's called DISTRIBUTOR LIABILITY, which used to be bedrock defamation law. Spreading lies is just as harmful as telling them. When the course cannot be sued, those who spread lies are immune, even if they are actually working in concert with those who publish them.

        Our elected officials are wising up to this problem. Other countries also have no equivalent to Section 230. The Supreme Court has also never ruled on the distributor-liability question, which is odd, because you would think they'd have taken a case by now just to settle the law. One day they will.

        If one supports 230, they are supporting eliminating legal remedy for those who are clearly harmed by the law, and should own that. There have even been cases where content ruled defamatory by a court did not have to be removed by search engines.

        Proving third-party authorship would allow for the deletion of anonymous content without destroying 230 itself.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2019 @ 2:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Search engines spread defamation to people's personal lives from any corner of the internet, even things posted anonymously for which the original poster cannot be sued.

          A search engine scrapes other websites and provides links to those websites; it does not force people to click those links, view that content, or take that content seriously. And if the content was posted anonymously, well, tough shit — go get a court rulling that says the content is defamatory and the website hosting that content has to take it down.

          Spreading lies is just as harmful as telling them.

          And yet, when someone goes after defamatory content, I fail to see them suing everyone who linked to, repeated, or mentioned the existence of that content. I wonder why that is~.

          Other countries also have no equivalent to Section 230.

          And that is why you have other countries knocking entire services offline in that country whenever someone, say, insults the government of that country: Because rather than go after the content creator, the country would rather go after the platform to send a nakedly political message. (I mean, either way, it would be a dick move. But going after the platform affects more people.)

          If one supports 230, they are supporting eliminating legal remedy for those who are clearly harmed by the law

          You appear to have made a mistake in your phrasing. Here, let me correct that for you:

          If one supports 230, they are supporting eliminating legal liablity for those who had no direct hand in creating, publishing, or distributing illegal content

          There, that looks more accurate.

          There have even been cases where content ruled defamatory by a court did not have to be removed by search engines.

          So what? Google is under no obligation to remove links to such content from its search engine.

          Proving third-party authorship would allow for the deletion of anonymous content without destroying 230 itself.

          Yes, of course it would. But we need not destroy 230 to prove third-party authorship, punish that third party, and punish a platform’s owners/operators if they knowingly aided in the creation/publication/distribution of illegal content.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 3:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A search engine scrapes other websites and provides links to those websites; it does not force people to click those links, view that content, or take that content seriously.

            Nor did it serve up unsolicited search results magically!

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 1:29pm

    Section 230 might be more vulnerable to a tenth-amendment challenge which says the feds have no right to regulate libel.

    Isn't that how sports betting became legal?

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 1:34pm

    The largest class of people harmed by Section 230 are people who have lost money due to false information for which its internet ohsts are immunized.

    Say Contractor A does horrible work but gets business by defaming Contractor B, who winds up broke and unable to sue. The CEO of Contractor B can't start up a new business because the lies will continue. Meanwhile, Contractor A has done shoddy work in hundreds of homes until one day there is a disaster and those impacted are wondering why no one warned them.

    You think this isn't happening due to Section 230? You are blind. All businesses and white-collar professionals are on one side of this coin. Our infrastructure is being built by whoever looks the best on an internet where no one can file suit to correct lies.

    It is ineviable that the public will awaken to this ticking time bomb and put a stop to it.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 1:40pm

    One need not be defamed to be harmed by Section 230. One need only be MISLED by someone who defamed another, into associating with the wrong people and avoiding the right people all because of what they found in a search engine which cannot be sued for the lies.

    People worried about Russian influence here might want to look up "reputation blackmail" or the $5-10k ransom payments they demand not to post to the online-review sites.

    Section 230 makes lies and gossip look like truth. Peopple are relying on this information to make life-altering decisions which impact not just them but everyone around them. This danger doesn't go away just because some snarky inter net blogger wants to ridicule his political opponents.

    Unfortunately, something horrible will have to happen before people wake up, because those who would warn them don't look so good in the search engines, while those who defame them laugh all the way to the bank at how stupid the masses are.

    This is just a meaningless internet blog. The major networks are the ones who set policy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 8:07pm

    The whole issue of businesses getting reviews they don't like, and wanting to go all vindictive on some innocent bystander, is far beyond the scope of CDA 230. That issue is what SLAPP laws are designed to prevent.

    So, if a review is unfavorable, that's not evidence of slander (actually, it's not even libel, but like a crooked businessman knows or cares about the difference!) Only a court can decide whether or not a post is libel--the businessman and the ISP do not get a vote, and it's pointless for them to even be discussing the issue.

    The legal recourse is--as it should be--to sue the person who actually posted the criticism. And SLAPP laws are there to protect the free speech of unhappy customers--if the angry businessman doesn't have any evidence of deceit and malice, than he can accept feedback gratefully, or he can pay the legal bills of the people he tried to deprive of their right to free speech.

    If he DOES have evidence of deceit and malice, the courts are there, he can ask for the identity of the poster and sue him.

    If deceit and malice can be proven, and if (as some people have speculated) the poster is a thriving competitor, then there are rich pockets to pay damages. Problem solved, and CDA 230 was never even remotely involved.

    But destroying everyone's right to free speech just because some rich privileged person might be offended is ... well, it's the whole British approach, and it's the reason certain British rebels wrote the FIRST amendment FIRST, so that couldn't happen in the former colonies.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 3:34pm

      Re:

      Except most of the damage is done by the internet companies, which is why every country except America does not have Section 230.

      Rich people can hire judgment-proof people to silence dissent by defaming them.

      You can choose not to recognize this but that'sw on you. Even our own legislators are growing wise to the dangers of 230. Misinformation is actually the bigger problem.

      In India, they are citing mob violence incited online as the reason for revising their liability laws (equivalent to distributor liability in the US).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:38pm

        Re: Re:

        Rich people can hire judgment-proof people to silence dissent by defaming them.

        Thanks for describing Shiva Ayyadurai's sad lawsuit in a nutshell: spending an incalculable amount of money to ruin a website his supporters believe is only read by 27 idiots in Bangladesh. Money well spent!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re:

        Good thing we don’t live in India isn’t it?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:22pm

        Re: Re:

        Rich people can hire judgment-proof people to silence dissent by defaming them.

        And those who are defamed can still sue that person/ask the platform they published on to have defamatory content taken down. The legal liability for defamation still lies upon the person who wrote/published the content.

        I still want to see your answer for this question: If I write something defamatory in this comments section, for what reason should Techdirt’s owners/operators be held legally liable for my speech if none of them directly helped me write/publish/distribute that speech?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2019 @ 10:22pm

    Let me see. An offended businessman should have a right to accuse (someone who wrote a review) of slander. If that accusation is false, it is itself slander (OK, or libel.)

    But these two potential slanders should (according to CDA-haters) be treated quite differently. The review author must be legally treated as a liar without further review, and immediately deprived of his right to speak in a public place.

    But the slander-accuser has a right to be treated as infallibly right; all businesses and courts must immediately take whatever actions he wants, or be liable to damages of beeellions of dollars for their contumacy.

    If the concepts "justice" or "equity" or "fair" have any meaning at all, that kind of unequal treatment is pure evil, root stem and branch.

    Am I the only person who sees this kind of thinking as pure evil, root and branch?

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 8:37pm

      Re:

      Unfavorable reviews are not libelous. Many reviews cross the line into libel, and businesses have no recourse other than to play whack-a-mole (at best).

      This site is an echo chamber one step above 4chan, with many making an attempt to make some sides of a debate seem more popular than they actually are. Namecalling, deliberately ignoring that which does not fit their narrative, and straw-man arguments prevail.

      To the real media (television networks), what is this site and its owner? Nobody and nothing. The site gives airtime to some of its users to inflate their sense of importance but again it's just noise. Even the "real name" posters often turn up as internet ghosts beyond this site. Don't be fooled. Those who namecall also shouldn't expect civilized discussions subsequently. In the real world they would get a much different response if they ever talked like that (but of course they don't have the nerve to do that).

      The two main drums this site beats are against enforcement of copyright (to the point of sugggestwing that rightsholders should be held hostage by pirates), and that Section 230 doesn't harm anyone, as if having lies about a person or business stuck in search engines don't cause harm.

      In the REAL WORLD, the forces of intellectual sanity are gaining steam, and as they do, the articles on this site become louder, and the namecalling and slanted language intensify. I'm watching "Fyre Fraud" on Hulu, and the "influencers" were the reason that music festival went viral before it came crashing down.

      Piracy will be eradicated from the internet one way or another, and 230 is hanging by a thread as more and more collateral damage from it surfaces. The tipping point was revenge porn in fact, as many female law professors were pointing out.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2019 @ 9:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Congratulations. You learned how to air your grievances against a platform and a group of users you personally consider to be beneath you.

        ...Seriously, you fret about a Russian bot while pooh-poohing everyone else here who disagrees with you. In the real world, as you like to claim as a virtual "I win" button, few would consider $150,000 and/or jail to be an appropriate penalty because you think somebody downloaded a song.

        You can eradicate piracy all you want, the same way you did for the last three decades to predictably dismal results. It's not going to make people part ways with their money. You choosing to sue veterans and grandmothers without checking their IP addresses probably had something to do with that. Again, in the real world, those who believe the law is best enforced by running into a room, firing a gun at random and suing whoever the bullet hits numbers among a very small minority. You chose to be a part of that minority, and now you're angry because predictably very few people agree.

        Hell, Europe just threw out Article 13. The very thing that you asked for to begin with. Because you asked for Article 13 to be thrown out after you realized you couldn't sue the innocent without consequence. Pardon me if I find it hard to eke out a modicum of sympathy.

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

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 9:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It sounds like Jhon's desire is for section 230 to disappear so he can defraud some courts into leeching from sites hosting reviews of how worthlessly awful his self-help fiction book is, which will then also magically make people buy it.

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 20 Jan 2019 @ 9:44pm

        Re: Re:

        [objection: asserts facts not in evidence]

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2019 @ 1:27am

        In the REAL WORLD your dick still don’t work

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.