Wherein The Copia Institute Tells The Eleventh Circuit That Florida's SB 7072 Law Violates Our Rights

from the sticking-it-to-everyone-to-stick-it-to-facebook dept

We've talked a lot about the Florida law SB 7072 that attempts to regulate social media platforms. In broad strokes, it tries to constrain how at least certain Internet platforms moderate their platforms by imposing specific requirements on them about how they must or may not do so. That law is now being challenged in court. The district court enjoined it, and Florida has now appealed to the Eleventh Circuit to have the injunction overturned. This week the Copia Institute joined others in filing amicus briefs in support of maintaining the injunction.

As we told the told the court, the Copia Institute wears two hats: One hat we wear is as commentators on the issues raised by the intersection of technology and civil liberties, which laws like Florida's impact. Meanwhile, the other hat is the one we wear by sitting at this crossroads ourselves, particularly with respect to free speech.

To operate Techdirt, the Copia Institute needs robust First Amendment protection, and also Section 230 protection, to both convey our own expression and to engage with our readers, including in our comments section. Unfortunately the Florida law impermissibly targets both sets of rights. And this constitutional and statutory incursion affects every Internet platform, and all the user speech they facilitate, including us and ours, even if we don't all fall directly into its crosshairs.

The Florida law's enforcement crosshairs are especially arbitrary, ostensibly targeting companies with very high revenue, or very large audiences, unless, of course, they happen to also own a theme park… But one thing we told the court is that the specific details don't really bear on the law's overall constitutional and statutory defects. Part of the reason is because if Florida could pick these arbitrary criteria, which might not apply to certain platforms, another state could pass a law with different criteria that would reach more, and then these platforms would still be left having to cope with a fundamentally impermissible law.

Also, it's not clear that even small entities like ours might not be able to attract the larger audiences the Florida law describes since that's at the very heart of what we try to do as an enterprise: have reach and influence. The point of the First Amendment is to make it possible for outlets like ours to connect with readers – only thanks to laws like this, we could end up punished with onerous regulation we couldn't possibly comply with should we succeed. And that sort of punitive deterrence to expression is not something the First Amendment, or even Section 230, permit.

But even if Techdirt could remain safe from the reach of a law like this, it would still hurt us if it hurt other platforms, because we need the help of other platforms to help our message get out too. Indeed, the whole point of the Florida law is ostensibly to help people use these other platforms to get their messages out. Only the upshot is that the law does the exact opposite by salting the regulatory earth so that no platform can safely exist to help users do that.

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Filed Under: 11th circuit, amicus brief, comments, florida, free speech, moderation, section 230, social media


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 9:59am

    On another note:

    Don't the Nazis, grifters, and paranoiacs (but I repeat myself) who get banned from certain social media have their own social media, such as Gab and Parler? If so, why do we even need overbearing and oppressive laws like Florida's?

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 10:07am

      Re: On another note:

      (BTW, I know the reason why laws like Florida's are made in order that websites be forced to accept people they don't want. I was asking the question rhetorically).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2021 @ 1:34pm

      Re: On another note:

      If so, why do we even need overbearing and oppressive laws like Florida's?

      Because we should, nay MUST get punished for pointing out that they're assholes no one wants to associate with.

      So assholey that they've had to go make their own clubhouse. They didn't feel safe in ours, because we're both oppressive and sheeple at the same time. Making a clubhouse takes work. That cuts into the free time they have while not working, collecting disability, and any other excuse they have for realizing what 'at-will' employment means once it's too late. And that work could otherwise be directed to us 'Mericuns really want - libruls defeeted, soshullism defeeted, aborshuns gone (praise the lord!), and their fucking guns.

      How can you plot a successful insurrection with an ignorant group of simpletons if you've got to divert the smart(?) ones to 'compooter stuff' like making a functional social media site that doesn't suck? That's what, a half dozen or so less guns to fight if us commie assholes come a knocking? Whaddif us sheep finally come for their guns while they're farting around learning to code?

      We created them. We made them create a space where their ideas could flourish, outside the oppressive cloud of 'big tech' and us commie, socialist, racist, atheist, anti-gun, straight on the fucking highway to hell libtard scum. Why wouldn't they hate us for 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, 17 Nov 2021 @ 8:30pm

        Re: Re: On another note:

        "Assholes no one wants to associate with" includes many activists who upset apple carts.

        Martin Luther King could easily have been silenced, just as those who are ahead of their time today certainly are.

        Might doesn't make right and censorship is might. Immunizing libel is diastrous and will remain a disaster until 230 is gone. COVID is the latest fire to put out.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 10:38pm

          Not like texas republicans didn't already make it clear...

          Ah yes, comparing someone arguing for racial equality with... remind me, what are the people being shown the door on social media and who are apparently 'ahead of their time' being penalized for again, and be specific.

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

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 12:46am

          Re: Re: Re: On another note:

          ... said nobody who had even the slightest understanding of Section 230, ever.

          (but spammed by Jhon Smith a lot)

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

        • identicon
          Rocky, 18 Nov 2021 @ 12:47am

          Re: Re: Re: On another note:

          "Assholes no one wants to associate with" includes many activists who upset apple carts.

          Feel free to mention all these asshole activists and their message...

          Martin Luther King could easily have been silenced, just as those who are ahead of their time today certainly are.

          It's funny you should mention MLK, he hadn't access to an internet, he hadn't access to mainstream media - yet he managed to get his message out even though the government tried to silence him and went after him in various ways.

          At no point did MLK actually behave like an asshole, but those threatened by his message of equality - those where the assholes, and they certainly went to extraordinary lengths to silence him, up to and including assassination.

          If MLK had been alive today, my opinion is that he would wholeheartedly support 230 for the simple reason it allows minorities and other marginalized groups to have a far stronger voice than without it.

          Might doesn't make right and censorship is might. Immunizing libel is diastrous and will remain a disaster until 230 is gone. COVID is the latest fire to put out.

          Censorship? Please tell us who and what they said that have been censored, be specific. And do tell us also about this disaster, there must be millions of people affected if it's considered to be a disaster...

          In the end, that you can't see the difference between an activist trying to change society to be better and an asshole being an asshole there is no real help for you.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 1:49am

          Re: Re: Re: On another note:

          "Martin Luther King could easily have been silenced, just as those who are ahead of their time today certainly are."

          And yet he wasn't. And by those very fine people you claim are "ahead of their time" I'm sure MLK would be the first to advocate having every private entity throw those people out of their houses.

          "Might doesn't make right and censorship is might. Immunizing libel is diastrous and will remain a disaster until 230 is gone."

          And private property owners exercising their right to throw people off their property is not censorship. It's the house owner showing you the door because they think you're an asshole.

          Just because you are a moron unable to understand this very simple difference doesn't mean anyone else is, Baghdad Bob.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 6:36am

          Re: Re: Re: On another note:

          Martin Luther King could easily have been silenced, just as those who are ahead of their time today certainly are.

          Ahead of their time as in, they're the intersection of 1940's Germany and the ignorant South - a bunch of red hat retards with a superiority complex, immersed in a pool of Dunning-Krueger.

          Well, there's no one able to silence them since they fucked off and built their own platforms to complain on, amirite? It's gonna get real hard to keep playing the victim when you've got your own place to spew the ridiculous shit of the day. Perhaps they shouldn't have based their entire ethos on perpetual victimhood.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 11:51am

          On another note: What crime are you trying to coverup now

          How that lawsuit against all of us coming bro?

          Remember when the super-feds were gonna come bust down our doors?

          How bout that time you tried to fight me?

          Good times

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 5:37pm

          Martin Luther King could easily have been silenced

          He was silenced⁠—with a bullet.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 8:40pm

      Re: On another note:

      Because they are playing to the base who believe this type of law is perfectly okay because it infringes only the bad peoples rights & will have no backlash for them.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 11:27am

    The lawmakers behind this bill want a less communications-friendly Internet. The language of the bill may not say as much, but the intent certainly does.

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

    • icon
      sumgai (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      No, Stephen, you targeted "communications", and that's not their intent at all. Their intent is to poison any and all communications outlets, bringing the content of those media down to the lowest possible level of sewer-dom. You could say (and should have said) that this law, and comparable ones from other states, is intelligent conversation-hostile. The do want to see communications, but they want it to contain as little as possible intelligent conversation amongst the public.

      Always remember, an informed public is dangerous to its government. The coroallary being, a split public, some portion of which has been informed by dis- and mis-information, is the best thing a government could wish for.

      Remember too, that ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times". We sure are living under that curse right now, aren't we though.

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re:

        you got some points on that Sumgai.
        But can we add abit more.
        In a capitalist system, every one wants their pennies.
        If you arnt paying off the right groups, you arnt doing it right.
        Its like the RIAA, and every Music box in every bar. There is a Fee for it. ANd you cant use your OWN machines. $2000 per month and you can only play this many songs, OR we increase the charge.

        IF' you took all the companies names in the USA and required them to use the Original Company owners names. There would probably be < 20 names for all the stores and restaurants, all the Washing machines and dryers, Everything would have <20 names for all of the stores and companies in this country.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 12:20pm

        you targeted "communications", and that's not their intent at all

        Except it is. Communication is a two-way street; what these lawmakers want⁠—regardless of whether they’ll own up to it⁠—is to turn the Internet into a broadcast network, especially if that broadcasts their specific brand of lies.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 12:08pm

    Communication and passing on information.

    First way for Social interaction was passing word of mouth.
    Which can get abit Garbled.
    Then we had Basic paper, and walls to write on to pass on information into the future.
    Then books
    Newspapers
    Then a Big change the printing press, to make it EASY to make more newspapers and books.
    THEN we got Wired
    Then Radio(these 2 may be reversed)^
    Then we still had newspapers and News from around the world, Much quicker.
    Then we installed radio(wide band communications on Phones) onto the Wired phone system.
    Then we keep trying to get High speed communications for the Whole world.
    Communication with the ability to show every Movie, TV series, News article, to have conversations and discussions from around the world. The ability to Share info and Thoughts from nation to nation, and person to person.

    Insted of waiting for the news to get to you by Walking, by horse, by ship, by newsboy, by this and that and Any other way. You can now find the weather in Bangladesh, in seconds to see if they are going to have a flood, while you are sitting on the toilet. Insted of 2 months, 2 weeks, tomorrow.

    Those nations that Declare they are free and open to the citizens of the nations, NOW can have that freedom of opinion, insted of being in the dark and only listening to those with the MOST money. But even then, as has been shown in the past, Corps and some, tend to create the business of Information control. You can have the BEST country in the world. But the control of Information is control of the people and the Gov.

    Being able to hear/listen/see, HOW your nation communicates with each other, can tell a gov. MORE then anything about its people. Watch the information being spread. See what the people See and THINK they see.
    Chastise those that make OPINIONS out of information/news. News is simple, and NOT glorified. IF you keep it to Facts.

    Hope that all makes sense. My fingers cant keep up at times.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2021 @ 3:38pm

    To operate Techdirt, the Copia Institute needs robust First Amendment protection, and also Section 230 protection, to both convey our own expression and to engage with our readers, including in our comments section.

    Isn't the protection of section 230 limited to comments?

    I am under the impression that any media's own articles are not protected by section 230. (E.g., FOX is being sued for telling lies about certain voting machine companies).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2021 @ 4:55pm

      Re:

      In that instance, yes. I don't read the paragraph as suggesting otherwise.

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

      • icon
        Cathy Gellis (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 6:25pm

        Re: Re:

        230 protects platforms for liability arising from user-generated content. But the point the brief makes is that we need that protection both for when we're the platform, hosting others' user-generated content (such as in the comments), and also when we're the user spreading our message via other platforms, or even hosting user communities on other platforms, which all need Section 230 in order to be available to us.

        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, 17 Nov 2021 @ 8:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, it allows reputations to be destroyed, as the Times article showed.

          You are definitely on the wrong side of history, which will cost you your legacy.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 9:36pm

            it allows reputations to be destroyed

            No, it doesn’t. But feel free to keep thinking that going after the tools instead of the people using those tools is the smart play.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2021 @ 9:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This "wrong side of history" and "cost you your legacy" rhetoric has been sung for three, four years now, Jhon boi.

            Daddy Trump couldn't fight your battles. You'll have to forgive us if the lone Paul Hansmeier cheerleader isn't making us shiver in our shoes.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 2:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You are definitely on the wrong side of history..."

            The idea of being "on the wrong side of history" is, incidentally, normally only used politically for a certain type of people, ever since a certain Hitler popularized the expression in his book and in his speeches.

            Because the idea that history has a right and a wrong side rather than simply being a recounting of fact...that's an invention of that certain ideology Herr Hitler is famous for pioneering.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 6:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes, it allows reputations to be destroyed, as the Times article showed.

            Ah yes - that's the fault of Section 230, not the individuals. Because personal responsibility is for people collecting welfare and using social services, not good fine white people wanting to hang Mike Pence.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 11:53am

            Re: What was her name Jhon

            "You are definitely on the wrong side of history, which will cost you your legacy"

            I've always said you are a bigger projectionist than IMAX bro.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 7:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are definitely on the wrong side of history, which will cost you your legacy.

            What right side of history have you been on, John? "Prenda will appeal, and they will win"?

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

        • icon
          ECA (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 2:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are all right as far as you go.
          It The owner of the hardware
          Its the Companies that create sites
          Its each of the companies, from Chat, comments on Stores products, Forums, up an TO the person who made the comment, being responsible for being the idiot that stated it.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 1:55am

      Re:

      "Isn't the protection of section 230 limited to comments?"

      It is. comments are made by the commenters - not Techdirt's responsibility what they say. No more so, at least, than the bar owner is culpable for what their patrons say in their bar.

      Articles may be published by Techdirt staff (in which case TD would be partially or wholly culpable), or by independents (in which case TD would be partially or wholly culpable). Because in a sane legal paradigm it's always the person writing a message who is responsible for it.

      The alt-right's slogan of "removing 230" basically means "Let's shoot the messenger, for they are culpable for bearing the message".

      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, 17 Nov 2021 @ 8:26pm

    Misinformation kills, and libel is misinformation, the spreading of which (separate from its publication) should not be immunized, as the anti-vaxxers have proven. People need a truth-in-internet law as many presume "they" already have one.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Nov 2021 @ 9:41pm

      People need a truth-in-internet law

      I have to wonder who would be the arbiter of what is true under such a law. Will it be you? Will it be the president? Will it be the 1989 Denver Broncos?

      Would you have the police involved, such that they can arrest people for their speech? And what would the punishment be for lying on the Internet under this law⁠—a fine, a jail sentence, or worse?

      You think you want this law, but were it made an actual law, you’d likely be in its crosshairs the moment it goes into effect. Sit with that thought for a while.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 12:47am

      Re:

      If lies and libel were as actionable as you hallucinated, you'd be first against the wall for as many as you keep telling here.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 11:56am

      Re: Cant even keep your own story straight bro

      Remember when you were a best selling author, inventor, businessman, and fifteen or so other lies?

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 4:27pm

      Re:

      the problem with facts?
      Its simple, you cant get anything if you dont ask, or show an opinion, based on what you DO KNOW.
      To many have heard repeated OPINIONS< so many times it becomes truth, in their own minds.

      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, 17 Nov 2021 @ 8:28pm

    List everyone this fine institute takes money from.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2021 @ 9:20pm

      Re:

      Back already, John Smith?

      Leonard French has done up a nice summary of what happens when copyright trolls refuse to pay their victims' dues when the courts ask them to. Like Malibu Media. You might want to factor that into your press release that everyone knows is not going to happen.

      At least try not to multipost while inebriated on your mobile phone so much. It's excessively unbecoming behavior for a Hollywood titan like you claim to be.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 2:00am

      Re:

      "List everyone this fine institute takes money from."

      It's on the wiki pages for Copia.
      Also in Copia's homepage.
      Also covered by numerous articles publicly released annually on where various think-tanks obtain funding.

      Oh...I get it, Baghdad Bob...you thought you had yourself a 'gotcha' moment again and blurted out yet another question to which everyone can already supply the answer you weren't looking for.

      I must say your trolling has become rather weaksauce lately...but I guess when the material you got comes from the alt-right morons hitting all 14 points of Umberto Eco's "how to spot a fascist" list the talking points just aren't possible without either denying observable reality or abstaining from anything but a brief, limping one-liner.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 6:48am

      Re:

      Since Scary Devil Monastery told you (as well as the rest of us) where the information is, the next logical question is "OK, what are we looking for?'

      Or is 'just asking questions' where your thought process ends?

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

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Nov 2021 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re:

        "thought process"

        Citation Needed

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Nov 2021 @ 2:58am

        Re: Re:

        "Or is 'just asking questions' where your thought process ends?"

        I'll bet you a thousand bucks against a tub of bullshit that's where that thought process does end in any of the forums old Baghdad Bob gets his talking points from.

        This is why so many alt-right fsckwits deliver that line "Just look at.." and end up poleaxed when someone does look, finds nothing incriminating and asks the next question.
        Whereupon they lose their shit completely and start screaming about being mistreated and silenced.
        Because fact-checking, to the cult of anti-intellectualism, is outright bullying.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2021 @ 6:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is why so many copyright cultists deliver that line "Just look at.." and end up poleaxed when someone does look, finds nothing incriminating and asks the next question.

          There, fixed that for you. Considering that it's John Smith we're talking about, it's appropriate.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2021 @ 6:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, given the correlation of copyright cultists and fascists, i'll take that correction. Information control fanatics bereft of human empathy or respect for principles of law, hell-bent on reversing burden of proof by any other name and all that...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2021 @ 11:54am

      Re: You first bro

      How many settlements have you currently or previously paid out?

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


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