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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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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Section 230 Protects Snapchat from Liability for Cyberbullying–Grossman v. Rockaway Township

4 07 2019

Eric Goldman
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
July 1, 2019

This case involves the heartbreaking suicide of 12 year old Mallory Grossman, driven by offline and online peer bullying that included mean Snapchat messages. (Note: the opinion refers to Mallory as “MG,” but poor redactions reveal her name in the opinion; and her story has been extensively covered by name in New Jersey papers and a newly passed NJ anti-bullying law is named after her). The parents sued the school district and Snapchat. The procedural facts aren’t clearly laid out, but it appears the school district piggybacked on the parents’ claims against Snapchat, essentially pointing at Snapchat as the real wrongdoer instead of itself.

This devolves into a fairly straightforward Section 230 defense win, aided by defense-friendly NJ-area precedents such as Donato v. Moldow, DiMeo v. Max, Obado v. Magedson, and Parker v. Google, Reviewing the applicable complaints, the court says:

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Case citation: Grossman v. Rockaway Twp., 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1496  (N.J. Superior Ct. June 10, 2019). The initial complaint.

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2019/07/section-230-protects-snapchat-from-liability-for-cyberbullying-driven-grossman-v-rockaway-township.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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Twitter Isn’t Liable for Impersonation Account–Dehen v. Doe

26 09 2018

Technology & Marketing Law Blog

Eric Goldman

Sept. 24, 2018

Tiffany Dehen is a 2016 alumna of University of San Diego’s law school. Her website declares that she is “a true American and Patriotic Trump Supporter,” and her photo album includes a photo of her smiling with Dinesh D’Souza. She claims that an unidentified person created a “parody” Twitter account that used her photo and posted objectionable content. She reported the account to Twitter and, after a few days, the account was disabled. You can read more about her motivations for filing this lawsuit in an Above the Law interview. Dehen sued several defendants; I’ll focus on Twitter’s liability.

 

Case citation: Dehen v. Doe, 2018 WL 4502336 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2018). Dehen’s website has an archive of case filings.

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Google’s servers housed by a third-party ISP qualify as a regular and established place of business to establish proper venue in the Eastern District of Texas

17 08 2018
Lex Blog
AUGUST 15, 2018
In our continued post-TC Heartland coverage, Judge Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas recently held that venue was proper because Google exercises exclusive control over physical servers implicated by the litigation, as well as the physical space within which the server is located and maintained. The court emphasized that the place where the server is located occupies a physical space, which is more than merely a virtual space or electronic communications from one person…

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Image Rights: Valuable Intellectual Property

7 08 2018

IP Watchdog

Kelvin King & Raymond Weisner
May 4, 2018

The cult of celebrity keeps creating more and more wealth. And concurrent with protecting that, ‘Image Rights”’have been receiving a lot of publicity – as well as the attention of tax authorities. Even James Bond, Sir Sean Connery, has just discreetly protected his brand and trademarked his name. Documents filed in both the EU and the US show the veteran star is ensuring that he and he alone can profit from his name.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/05/04/image-rights-valuable-intellectual-property/id=96506/ 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 Awards $12,500 For ‘Emotional Harm’ From Bogus Copyright Lawsuit

6 08 2018

Tech Dirt

Mike Masnick

Almost a year ago, we wrote about a somewhat complex set of cases involving a woman named Shirley Johnson, who posted videos to YouTube that were critical of the New Destiny Christian Centers and Paula White Ministries. Paula White did not take kindly to this criticism and sued Johnson… for copyright infringement (though, the details suggest that the decision to sue actually came from White’s son, Brad Knight, and White agreed to it at Knight’s suggestion). This was because Johnson used video clips and images in her own videos. This seemed like a pretty clear copyright abuse case as it was obviously filed to stop criticism that involved fair use, and not for any legitimate purpose. The case was dismissed, but Johnson countersued for “malicious prosecution.” As we noted in our article from last September, Johnson then also filed a separate lawsuit for a DMCA 512(f) abuse claim. If you don’t recall, 512(f) is the (mostly toothless) part of the DMCA that bars “misrepresentations” in DMCA claims. So, there are two parallel cases going on, brought by Johnson (representing herself, without a lawyer), against Paula White and her various entities, for filing a bogus copyright claim against Johnson.

That case around 512(f) is still going as far as I can see. However, the malicious prosecution case has now concluded with the court awarding Johnson $12,500 for the “emotional harm” from the bogus copyright claim. Of course, before this happened, as the court itself says (and I’m not joking): “all hell broke loose.” That is directly from the court’s ruling back in January, which details a convoluted mess of discovery fights and bad behavior.

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A Presentation on Legal Issues for Podcasters – Who Owns What?

6 08 2018

David Oxenford
August 3, 2018
Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, I spoke at Podcast Movement 2018 – a large conference of podcasters held in Philadelphia. My presentation, Legal Issues In Podcasting – What Broadcasters Need to Know, was part of the Broadcasters Meet Podcasters Track. The slides from my presentation are available here. In the presentation, I discussed copyright issues, including some of the music rights issues discussed in my articles here and here, making clear that broadcaster’s current music licenses from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and even SoundExchange don’t provide them the rights to use music in podcasts. Instead, those rights need to be cleared directly with the holders of the copyrights in both the underlying musical compositions as well as in any sound recording of the song used in the podcast.

 

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The content in this post was found at https://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2018/08/articles/a-presentation-on-legal-issues-for-podcasters-who-owns-what/ 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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