from the this-is-important dept
The issue may certainly sound like inside baseball, but it's important to anyone who runs an online service of any kind. Traditionally, when receiving a mistargeted lawsuit that tries to pin liability on a service provider, rather than the actual user, it's common to file a motion to dismiss based on section 230 safe harbors. However, in this ruling, the court said that you couldn't raise section 230 in a motion to dismiss, and that it could only be used as an "answer" and thus required a more involved (and potentially much more costly) procedure of asking the court for a ruling in the case, rather than just a dismissal. That would significantly raise the cost to many site owners in trying to dismiss these sorts of mistargeted lawsuits. It's nice to see a long list of defenders of the public and the internet sign on to explain to the court why this dicta is incorrect. Public Citizen, EFF, CDT and the Citizen Media Law Project all joined in with an amicus brief. Hopefully the court realizes the earlier sloppy ruling was a mistake, and the ability to dismiss using Section 230 safe harbors remains.