CDA Section 230 Immunizes Platform From Liability for Friend and Content Suggestion Algorithms

9 09 2019

J. Alexander Lawrence on
LexBlog
September 5, 2019
A recent Second Circuit decision makes clear that the safe harbor that social media and other Internet companies enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act broadly applies to a wide variety of claims.

When you think about the Section 230 safe harbor, don’t just think defamation or other similar state law claims. Consider whether the claim—be it federal, state, local, or foreign—seeks to hold a party that publishes third-party content on the Internet responsible for publishing the content. If, after stripping it all down, this is the crux of the cause of action, the safe harbor should apply (absent a few statutory exclusions discussed below). The safe harbor should apply even if the party uses its discretion as a publisher in deciding how best to target its audience or to display the information provided by third parties.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/09/05/safe-harbor-in-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act-applies-to-wide-variety-of-claims https://www.lexblog.com/2019/09/05/safe-harbor-in-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act-applies-to-wide-variety-of-claimsClicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Section 230 Applies to Facebook’s Post Removals and Account Suspensions–King v. Facebook

9 09 2019

Eric Goldman
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
September 6, 2019

The court summarizes the facts:

King alleges Facebook removed multiple posts by him, and temporarily suspended his Facebook access on several occasions in 2018, for posts that Facebook deemed a violation of its terms of service (“ToS”). The crux of his claim is that Facebook has violated its ToS in removing his posts and suspending his account, and that Facebook treats black activists and their posts differently than it does other groups, particularly white supremacists and certain “hate groups.”

This is an easy Section 230 dismissal:

  • ICS Provider: King admitted.
  • Publisher/Speaker claims: Yes, because each claim “is based on Facebook’s provision of the service for use by others or its moderator decisions on which posts to remove or not and which accounts to suspend or not” (cites to Brittain v. Twitter and Fields v. Twitter)
  • Third-party content: “all of King’s allegations rest on treatment of speakers (who make posts or otherwise provide content) and differential treatment of specific posts made either by himself or by other Facebook users”

Case citation: King v. Facebook, Inc., 3:19-cv-01987-WHO (N.D. Cal. Sept. 5, 2019)

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2019/09/section-230-applies-to-facebooks-post-removals-and-account-suspensions-king-v-facebook.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Celebrity Entertainer Sues Over Video Game Avatar

23 08 2019
Robert Hough
LexBlog
August 22, 2019
As real-world celebrities continue to expand the reach of their persona into the digital realm, the potential benefit for advertisers, game developers and esports event promoters is exceedingly high. But with increased opportunity comes increased risk.A New York Supreme Court recently addressed this risk when it construed the State’s right of publicity statute[1] in a dispute over an NBA 2K18 video game avatar. In Champion v. Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., celebrity basketball entertainer Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion sued the video game developer, alleging violation of his right to privacy for Take-Two’s use of his name and likeness. The Court ultimately dismissed the lawsuit, but not before it provided a helpful discussion of New York’s publicity statute and its modern application to the esports industry.

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Why Is MLB Claiming Revenue From Obviously Fair Use Videos On YouTube?

23 08 2019

Mike Masnick
Tech Dirt
August 22, 2019

Nearly a decade ago, we wrote a bunch about an excellent book called Copyfraud, by law professor Jason Mazzone, which went into great detail about how the legacy entertainment industry companies have used copyright in ways that are clearly against copyright’s intent — to the point that they border on fraud. The concept of copyfraud should be referred to more frequently, and here’s a perfect example. Just a couple months ago, we wrote about the amazing social media account of Jimmy O’Brien, who goes by @Jomboy_ on Twitter. He’s combined his love of baseball, his video editing skills, his ability to read lips incredibly well, and with a sarcastic, dry sense of humor to make a ton of amazing videos about various things happening in baseball. We highlighted a bunch last time around and his profile has only grown a lot since then, including among Major League Baseball players.

About a month after that post, Jomboy may have had his biggest moment so far, in putting together a truly amazing video of NY Yankees manager Aaron Boone getting ejected — following a bunch of players and Boone arguing with a young umpire over some bad calls. What took the video from normal great to amazing was that it revealed exactly what Boone was saying to the ump during their argument thanks to a bunch of “hot mics” from the broadcast. That allowed us to learn a lot more about this argument than anyone normally does in watching a manager scream at an ump:

That video alone went crazy viral and launched an even more viral meme in the phrase “fucking savages,” that is now on tons of t-shirts. Yankee fans have embraced it. The players have embraced it. By any stretch of the imagination, this was actually great for the game of baseball.

So, of course, Major League Baseball wants to kill it. Because that’s what MLB does. MLB’s head of discipline (and a former Yankee manager himself), Joe Torre is apparently really really upset about these hot mic videos that have gotten fans so excited about the game. Because how dare fans learn about the personalities of the people in the game.=

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WIPO Now Gets Into The Extrajudicial, Zero Due Process, Censorship Act Over Sites It Declares ‘Infringing’

22 07 2019

Mike Masnick
Tech Dirt
July 17, 2019

Every few years this kind of thing pops up. Some ignorant organization or policymaker thinks “oh, hey, the easy way to ‘solve’ piracy is just to create a giant blacklist.” This sounds like a simple solution… if you have no idea how any of this works. Remember, advertising giant GroupM tried just such an approach a decade ago, working with Universal Music to put together a list of “pirate sites” for which it would block all advertising. Of course, who ended up on that list? A bunch of hip hop news sites and blogs. And even the personal site of one of Universal Music’s own stars was suddenly deemed an “infringing site.”

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https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190712/00090542575/wipo-now-gets-into-extrajudicial-zero-due-process-censorship-act-over-sites-it-declares-infringing.shtml

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Not Here to Start Trouble: Court Rules Documentary’s Use of Super Bowl Shuffle Was Fair Use

16 07 2019
John Cannan
IP Watchdog
June 8, 2019

The Eighties are in! A contagious wave of nostalgia has infected popular culture with period TV series, from shows like Stranger Things to rebirths and reboots of the era’s shows and movies. This retro cultural appropriation was bound to involve a copyright issue. Indeed, a dispute arose over a documentary on the 1985 Chicago Bears, which made an unauthorized use of the team’s landmark music video, The Superbowl Shuffle. The Shuffle’s owners claimed an infringement on the licensing market for the work. The documentarians claimed fair use. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, ruled for the documentarians, granting them summary judgment, in Red Label Music Publishing v. Chila Productions.
The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2019/06/08/not-start-trouble-court-rules-documentarys-use-super-bowl-shuffle-fair-use/id=110213/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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U.S. – District Court reversed: No fair use defense for Adams Morgan neighborhood photo

16 07 2019

Valerie Brennan & Gabriel Guerra Medellin
LexBlog
June 10, 2019
The many historic landmarks and neighborhoods in Washington DC are one of the draws for locating events there. In a cautionary tale for event organizers, however, the Court of Appeals of the Fourth District recently ruled that unauthorized use of a third party photograph of the Adams Morgan neighborhood did not qualify as fair use, reversing and remanding the District Court’s summary judgment order.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/06/10/u-s-district-court-reversed-no-fair-use-defense-for-adams-morgan-neighborhood-photo/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Court Says Section 230 Shields Twitter From Revenge Porn Bro’s Stupid Lawsuit

16 07 2019

Tim Cushing
Tech Dirt
June 13, 2019
Former revenge porn extortionist and current pro se litigant, Craig Brittain, is one severely-narrowed complaint away from having his lawsuit against Twitter tossed. Brittain sued Twitter over the deletion of several accounts, including those he had whipped up for his Senate run.

The court’s first pass at the lawsuit moved it to California, a venue shift Brittain explicitly agreed to each time he created another alt account. Terms of service say suing Twitter means suing in California, even if you’re an Arizonan Senate hopeful with a closet that contains nothing but skeletons.

Contrary to Brittain’s fervent and litigious belief, there’s nothing illegal about deleting Craig Brittain’s multiple Twitter accounts. Brittain’s lawsuit tried to make it possible by treating Twitter as both a provider and a publisher, depending of which description worked out better for his arguments. The court decides to let Brittain have it both ways — and lose both ways. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh)

As a service provider, Twitter cannot be held liable for third party content. It can also remove accounts without losing this immunity. Since this isn’t about the removal of content, but rather the removal of accounts, Brittain tried to argue Section 230 immunity can’t protect Twitter from this lawsuit because removing accounts (and their content) is an editorial activity. The court points out this has zero effect on Section 230 protections. From the decision [PDF]:

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Three Years Later: 1st Amendment Challenge Over DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Provisions Can Move Forward

16 07 2019

Mike Masnick
Tech Dirt
June 12, 2019

Almost exactly three years ago we wrote about how well known computer security professor Matthew Green and famed hardware hacker Bunnie Huang had teamed up with EFF and the law firm Wilson Sonsini to file a fascinating 1st Amendment challenge to the DMCA’s Section 1201. 1201 is the so-called “anti-circumvention” or digital locks provision of the DMCA, that says that it’s infringing to “manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof” that is designed to “circumvent” DRM or other “technological protection measures.” Basically, if there’s a digital lock on something — doing anything to get around it (or to help others get around it) is potentially a copyright violation even if (and this is important) the purpose and result of circumventing the DRM has nothing to do with infringing on copyright.

Even Congress knew that this part of the law was crazy when they passed it. It knew that this would lead to all sorts of perfectly reasonable activities suddenly being declared infringing — so it came up with a really annoying hack to deal with that. A triennial review, where every three years everyone could go beg the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to grant categories of exemptions from Section 1201. Those exemptions only last for three years, so even if you get one, you need to keep applying.

The lawsuit took an interesting approach to challenging 1201. Noting that the Supreme Court has long held that fair use is a necessary safety valve to make copyright compatible with the 1st Amendment, they noted that 1201 does not allow fair use as a defense. And if it’s true that fair use is necessary to make copyright compliant with the 1st Amendment, then that should mean that 1201 is not constitutional.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190710/23312242561/three-years-later-1st-amendment-challenge-over-dmcas-anti-circumvention-provisions-can-move-forward.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Your Periodic Reminder That Keyword Ad Lawsuits Are Stupid–Passport Health v. Avance

12 07 2019

Eric Goldman
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
December 20, 2018

The parties compete for the provision of health services related to traveling, like immunizations. The defendant Avance bought keyword ads triggered on the plaintiff’s trademark “Passport Health.” In 2013, the trademark owner complained, and Avance apparently dropped the Google ad buy. However, apparently everyone forget about Bing. In 2017, the trademark owner reemerged, complaining about the Bing ad buys. This lawsuit ensued.

It doesn’t go well for the trademark owner.

Case citation: Passport Health, LCC v. Avance Health System, Inc., 2018 WL 6620914 (E.D.N.C. Dec. 18, 2018)

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2018/12/your-periodic-reminder-that-keyword-ad-lawsuits-are-stupid-passport-health-v-avance.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com